Ebook Pricing Wars: Episode 1,209,843

Zoe Winters wrote a thoughtful and reasoned post on ebook pricing yesterday that’s worth the read for all you indie publishers struggling with the pricing question. An excerpt:

I am bolding this next part because if you don’t hear any of the rest of this, please hear this:

99 cent and free ebooks are not glutting the ebook market. They are glutting the BARGAIN ebook market.

If you are selling to that market or you are a reader in that market, it’s very easy to imagine it’s the only market and OMG we all have to price at 99 cents because other people are MAKING US with their low-priced ebooks.

Not so.

My own experience corroborates Zoe here. I almost fell into this trap last year when I considered tinkering with the price of my fantasy novel, THE LAST KEY.

Should I go high or should I go low?

If I go high, I thought, why would anyone pay $4.99 for my book with all the 99-cent/free books out there?

But then I wondered, If I go low, how would anyone notice my book with all the 99-cent/free books out there?

I decided to go high and priced THE LAST KEY at $4.99 (a common price-point for novels with 75,000+ words). Since I did that in December, my sales rates have…stayed the same.

And that’s good. It means I’m getting the same number of sales and making more money than when the book was priced lower. I may not be tapping into the BARGAIN market, but I am getting noticed by a different market. I like to think it’s the LOVERS OF HIGH QUALITY FANTASY market…


  1. How does the bargain book market compare to the rest of the market? Are there more sales there?

    I often consider dropping my novel down to 99 cents but wonder if I’d be shooting myself in the foot. There’s a perception of quality involved and I’ve wondered if should give in and drop or hold my own. Konrath is happy with his $2.99 price point. In essence, I’m likely to hold off on doing anything until after the sequel is finished.

    This is good food for thought for writers, Rob. Care to cross post this at Podler?

  2. My sense — based totally on anecdotal evidence and my personal preferences — is that you may get more downloads by making your book free, or priced at 99 cents, but you may not get a lot of readers.

    I’ve downloaded a ton of freebies on my Kindle, but I doubt I’ll ever read most of them. When I pay for a book, I feel like I have to read it. I’m invested, which means they jump ahead of the freebies in which I’m not invested. Inevitably, I forget all about the freebie authors because by the time I finish the book I payed for, I’m interested in another book I need to pay for.

    But I have no hard evidence this effect is wide spread — it’s based on my own preferences and posts from readers I’ve seen in other forums. Take it with a grain of salt.

    And I just cross-posted to Podler. One of these days I’ll remember to do that. 🙂

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