8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 27, 2013 5:11 AM by Patrick_James

    Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

      It seems to me that we authors need to be thinking a little more like business people.  Remember those God- awful microeconomics courses we all sat through in college and the whole "supply and demand" thing?  Why the heck are we short changing our work by offering it at $2.99 or less?  The dynamic only favors the major distributors and not the producer of the goods (us!)


      There is nothing reasonable in this exchange, yet we have complied with it like a bunch of lemmings in the futile hope that it will translate into better sales numbers.  What if we organized as a group to be better represented and fairly compensated for our work?  I poured years of work into both of my novels, just as many others have.  Selling my soul for .99 cents?  Not in the cards.  Curious as to how others feel about this.

        • 1. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

          I totally agree with you. I general, I price my ebooks at 40 percent off the cover price of the traditional paperback editions. I find this to be a fair price for both my customers and myself.


          I see no point in giving my books away for a handful of pennies. Selling lots of books isn't about feeding my ego — it's about feeding my family.

          • 2. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

            Absolutely agree.  We need to begin to push for some respect for our work and value for what we produce.  I will not give my work away either.  But there is only strength in numbers if we are going to move this mountain. A fair price is just that.

            • 3. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

              Patrick, this is a good idea, it requires organization. Start an organization that requires members not to give their ebooks away, and I will join.


              As long as Amazon.allows free unlimited downloads for Select members, the massive numbers of free ebooks will continue to work against your concept.


              I have written a Commentary titled "What the Ebook Industry Needs Is..." and basically all the free and non-selling ebooks are destroying the business. I suggest a minimal charge to publish, offer for sale, sell, provide service and forums, etc. The Commentary is available at Philduke.weebly.com.


              All the juice is being squeezed out of the ebook plum, and the way things are going, before long there will be none left, unless changes are made. For overall success ebooks must be sold at a profit for all concerned, Indies, Amazon and BandN, etc.

              • 4. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?
                I've got five ebooks for sale. Three are full-length novels (at least a hundred thousand words each). I sell each of them for six bucks.
                • 5. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

                  I commend you for your resolve and in respecting your work.  Six bucks is not going to break anyone's bank account and if your work is good, your audience should be willing to fairly compensate you.  I've read a good number of articles on this subject and the only way to shift the price dynamic is to change the way we authors operate.  I'm curious to see if more people have thought this through as well?

                  • 6. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

                    Full disclosure: I'm a newbie (as if you can't tell). So far I've published only five ebooks, only three of which are full-length novels (a hundred-thousand words or more).


                    When I started out last year, Baen Books was selling ebooks on their own website for six dollars. Their explanation for that price was simple: "We want to make all the money we can, per sale, but we don't want to be pirated."


                    Now, I have no idea how Baen Books came up with their six-dollar figure, whether it was a number that Jim Baen made up, or whether it was determined after expensive research. Yet Baen Books was pricing their ebook novels at six bucks, so I priced (and am pricing) my ebook novels at six bucks.


                    So far, nobody has emailed either me or one of my authors to say, "This book costs too much." Of course, that "fact" might not mean anything.


                    Anyway, many of you are selling your ebook novels for less than six dollars. Some of you have many titles out, and you have quite a fan base for your authors. My suggestion is this: Keep the books that are already out, at the prices they already have; but sell your future ebook novels at six bucks. Readers will pout, but they won't pirate, and you'll make more money.

                    • 7. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

                      I agree, but I think there needs to be a consideration of word count, etc. Our small publishing company, LearningIsland.com, publishes short children's books for 99 cents. We have combined a number of them into groups and sold them for more (usually $3.99 or $4.99), but the individual book sales far outnumber the compilations, even though they get a lower price per book with the compilations. To price a 2000 word book at $2.99 would be a problem.


                      While I love the idea of a self/small publisher group, I also agree that one of the biggest problems with our getting a fair price is people who just want to see their name in print or to say they have published a book. There are too many people who are willing to give away a book for free, or sell it for less. I worry that those who published for more would be left out in the cold, with sales all going to the lower priced books. Unfortunately, Walmart has proven that this model works. They have built a huge corporation on the idea that you can save a few pennies by shopping at their store, and customers have flocked to them. How do we compete when there are those out there willing to sell for less?

                      • 8. Re: Why don't we collectively change the dynamic on eBook pricing?

                        These are valid considerations.  A full novel, let's say 70,000 words or more, should certainly carry more weight in pricing and most reasonable people would be prepared to pay a higher price for the work.  So if we change the expectation on pricing, by not offering our work for a full length book at virtually the same price as all other works, we will gradually change the market place.  Walmart wins, we all know that, but I think our situation differs.  We control the price at the onset.  If most of the product available in the market place is priced well above the current metric of $0.99 to $2.99, the price expectation shifts. The publics perception on quality changes. Hey, I don't expect to command the same price as a well published author ( at least not yet!) but a fair price is just that. 


                        I think we need to keep the conversation going.  The more we vet this issue, the better.