There has been a lot of discussion of what the perfect price point is for an ebook. The answer? You may have to play with the prices if you've published your own ebooks to determine where the best price lies.
A strong proponent of $0.99 and $1.99 ebooks, author JA Konrath, held those views up until last year, when Amazon raised the royalty level to 70% for ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Konrath took the plunge and raised his prices and has reported that this hasn't hurt his sales in the least. In fact, he reports he made over $100K last year on his ebooks, across multiple retailers. Not bad income for an author who is self-publishing his own books now, after being published by the big guys for years.
This past week, I've been asked by three authors to advise them as to why their ebooks aren't selling. The first thing I did was head over to their Amazon page, where I discovered ebook prices all over $9. And these are authors with only a couple of books. One only had a single title. You can bet they probably aren't widely known--compared to names like Konrath, Hocking, etc.
Along with high ebook prices, I noted that one author had overly busy book covers. I believe that will hamper his sales. Another author had a poorly worded description. The major problem is that all three authors are published by midstream traditional publishers and this means they don't have much--if any-- say in the pricing, covers or description.
My advice to all three: try to get your ebook rights back and publish these ebooks on your own. Or at least find an ebook publisher (like Imajin Books) that will work with you, price your ebook lower, update your covers and description if needed and give you a higher percentage of royalties. Because without getting that price lowered, you won't have much of a chance selling more ebooks.
In Konrath's latest blog post, he talks about an author who reached the NYT bestsellers list multiple times, who was just offered a $200K two-book deal. After Konrath crunched the numbers and pointed out that her ebooks would be priced higher, it appears this author would be better off publishing these on her own--especially since she obviously already has a platform and a built-in fan base from her existing titles--and setting lower prices.
Kindle Nation Daily conducted a recent survey. Here are some of the results.
"Kindle owners are buying ebooks with ever-increasing frequency, with 13% buying 60 or more paid ebooks a year, 22% buying 30 to 60, and 33% buying 15 to 30."
"A general Kindle reader "buys 4.9 print books and 46.6 ebooks a year. Slightly over half of her ebook acquisitions are free or priced at less 99 cents."
From the survey, here are the top 4 defining factors in purchasing an ebook:
1. ebook is by a favorite author
2. ebook is significantly cheaper than hardcover or paperback edition
3. ebook is priced at $3.99 or LESS
4. ebook comes highly recommended by someone you trust
For great deals on Kindle ebooks, check out Kindle Nation Daily and subscribe to their blog on your Kindle, so you'll receive alerts on exciting new releases, sales and more.
In the end, the pricing issue really boils down to one thing. Publishers and authors should give readers what they want, and they want less expensive ebooks.