Monday, April 12, 2010

The Price is Right

While we're talking about ebooks, let's talk about what those electrons cost our readers.

A couple of months ago, Amazon.com practically went to war with Macmillan over the sale price of e-books. I think a lot of publishers were unhappy with the $9.99 price point that Amazon established fore-books, thinking it was too low. They didn't want book buyers getting used to such a low price for literature. And this was when Amazon paid those publishers half the hardcover price for each sale. Why wouldAmazon set themselves up to take such a loss? One can only guess that they had their eye on Kindle sales.

On the other hand, publishers set the price for books on the iPad, and publishers get a 70/30 split. When Amazon took down the buy buttons for nearly all Macmillan titles. That's harsh.
Presumably Amazon wants e-book prices to be as low as possible to lure more people to buy Kindles. The more people who buy Kindles, the more people who won't buy e-books in other formats. And if you look at sales figures, it appears that the less expensive an e-book is the more copies sell. So, since, Amazon AND readers want e-books to be cheaper, smart publishers are pushing farther and farther in that direction.

Echelon Press is one of those smart publishers. I've been talking to them and it appears that in the very near future they will drop the price of my ebook of Blood and Bone to $3.00 for a couple months to see how it might impact sales. I think this is a good experiment that more publishers, particularly small publishers, should try.

5 comments:

Mark Troy said...

I'm not sure readers want cheap. Most readers, I believe, understand quality and recognize that producing a quality product costs money and artists deserve to be paid for their art. Sure we all have to budget and economize, but when it comes to stretching reading budgets, we have used bookstores and library sales. I think most people buy a mix of new and used. When it comes to new books they want quality. There's an expectation of what a good book costs. It's just my opinion, but I think pricing a book too low is more likely to drive away sales than pricing too high, because a low price says this book is inferior in some respect.

I priced my book on Kindle at 3.95 thinking that would draw sales when all other books were 9.99. Now, I think that was the wrong approach. I should have priced it the same as the others.

Helen Ginger said...

Good luck on sales. It'll be interesting to hear how the trial went.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Rob Walker said...

Austin et al -- no no no to higher prices, despite Mark Troy's take on this; this is a new business model and the old tradtional book model does not compute for Kindle Readers - avid, voractious readers they are. Look in on KindleKorner.com and just listen in to what they say, how they speak about ebooks, and free ebooks at that....the lowest price is NO PRICE - zero, free. Most love a free book and a .99 cent book. Now that may sound like the author gets nada, zip but not if you price all your books at 1.99, which in fact sales books fast and furiously on Kindle--and you make more money selling a hundred at 1.99 than selling three or four at 9.99. I put up a title at 8.99 and it just sat there like a stone, dropped it to 1.99 and suddeny it is moving and fast. Just put up Killer and Fatal Instinct at 1.99 about a week ago and each have sold around 40 copies. It is all in the pricing and I am gaining far more royalties with the lowest priced books than I will eveer realize from my three titles put up by my HarperCollins publishers which were priced at SAME price as the paperbackS! Not nutting selling and those are 7 bucks. Just sitting there like a stone -- my best three titles ever, nada, zip. HC will not listen to my reasoning on this but Kindle Readers are extremely smart and sharp about this pricing business and they were promised nothing over 9.99 when they bought their Kindles, then they discovered all the slew of FREE books that are in the public domain, many classics, and next they discovered the low low priced books. Joe Konrath's blog is eye-opening on this whole issue. I am getting reviews thanks to chatting it up on KindleKorner and Amazon.com discussions. Then they see the price and can not resist. Have sold hundreds of my low priced Children of Salem and my How-to book Dead On Writing for example.

Rob Walker said...

PS - except for Harliquin and Tor, Kindle Readers report they pay NO attention to logo of publisher...and they avoid Harliquin due to its reputation. They buy on brand name of author, great description of the book, great title, great cover art. This is info I have gleaned first hand.

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