Who Does 99¢ Pricing Hurt?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/570269 by Andy Reid http://www.sxc.hu/profile/RockinDadIf first books were universally priced at 99¢, the only folks who’d lose are authors who won’t write or can’t sell a second book. I say, let’s set that expectation!

99¢ is a good price for a single “taster” book so folks can be sure if they like your books. If so, they’ll pay full boat for the others. If not, you don’t have a frustrated reader who feels ripped off, you just have someone who quietly goes away. Folks who pay $12 for a book they hated are far more vocal than folks who only paid 99¢.

Be clear with your readers that’s exactly what you’re doing. “This book is the taster sample. If you like it, here are 6 more!”

Everyone in traditional publishing mourns the loss of the gatekeepers. This is built-in thresholding. Don’t set the bar artificially from the outside, set the bar at “Do you want to write a book badly enough that you’re willing to sell it for 99¢ because you know you’ll be writing more?”

What if I Want to Raise the Price Later?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/875056 by Andrew Steinle http://www.sxc.hu/profile/andrewcsThe common perception is that a low price is hard to raise. It’s just not true.

It’s hard to resell the same thing to the same buyer at a higher price, sure. That’s why we whine about the price of gas, like that’s gonna do any good.

But if I sell my book to you for 99¢, and in a year when I’ve finished 5 of them and am famous for being Chandler reborn, do you really believe I can’t set the price of that selfsame book anywhere I like, and sell copies all day long to new readers?

In fact, would those early readers not tell everyone they know “I knew him when he was 99¢, and he’s worth every penny of ten bucks, go buy the book” ?

Should Price Equal Value?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1334745 by Robert Linder http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=profile&l=linder6580Price is a number. Value is the outcome of a relationship.

My first book, The Commonsense Entrepreneur, has made the difference between a lifetime of struggle and successful entrepreneurship for more than one person.

Lifetime earnings of, let’s estimate, a million dollars. Measure of happiness and contentment from working for yourself instead of a soul-sucking corporation: priceless (meaning, oddly enough, “of such high value as to be incalculable.”)
Continue reading “Should Price Equal Value?”

Who Says a $10 Book is Better Than a 99¢ Book?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/641396 by jweston http://www.sxc.hu/profile/jwestonSeems I started this last week, talking about digital book pricing. Since digital books have essentially no cost involved in delivery, the price is almost an abstract concept.

It’s often argued that a book priced at 99¢ looks like the author doesn’t value their own work (usually by authors who don’t want to sell their books for 99¢.)

In what context do “price” and “value” relate to each other? That’s the question I’ll be exploring in a bit of detail this week.
Continue reading “Who Says a $10 Book is Better Than a 99¢ Book?”

5 Things I Believe About Pricing Your Digital Book

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1243714 by  floretan http://www.sxc.hu/profile/floretanSmashwords did extensive research and discovered that, all other things being equal, the price that sells is $3.99.

A few thoughts:

  1. I don’t buy digital books. I don’t even download them free, or, well, when I do, I don’t bother to read them. I’m a book in my hands guy. So as a buyer, digital price is irrelevant.
  2. The market expects that digital books will cost less than print. For good or ill, we have to be aware of the expectation, and if we defy it, we have to manage it, not just ignore it.
  3. Continue reading “5 Things I Believe About Pricing Your Digital Book”