Ebook pricing has been a source of great debate for well over five years. Trends have come and gone, starting with the $.99 full-length novel. When readers began to realize that self-publishers, rather than traditional publishers, were pricing their books that way, the cheap price, referred to as the $.99 ghetto, began to get a bad rap. So, the bargain price became $1.99. That too lost some appeal for the same reason.
Over time, indie writers have gradually increased their prices and traditional publishers have slowly lowered theirs. These days, a $4.99 novel could be published by either an indie author or traditional publisher. In other words, book quality can no longer be judged on price alone, nor should it be. Still, the question remains for many new authors, what to charge for their first ebooks, then the second, third, and so on?
Recently, the Fussy Librarian site posted the results of a survey taken by 1,200 readers, asking how much readers think is a fair price to pay for a full novel in ebook format. The results ran the gamut. The largest percentage of respondents (20.6) stated that $3.99 was fair, followed by 18% indicating that $4.99 was reasonable. 16.5% believed that $2.99 was reasonable. Only 6% of respondents stated that all ebooks should be free, while another 6.4% stated that they would pay more than $5.99 for a novel. Now, I wouldn’t recommend choosing your book’s price exclusively by what the Fussy Librarian survey revealed, but it is another piece of information that indie authors might find useful.
This validates a concern about my ebooks. My publisher set the price and it’s too high. Although, when I checked my Kobo ranking this morning for my first Casey Holland mystery, The Opposite of Dark, it was at #741, from over 32,000 a couple of weeks ago. Of course, that could mean that only one person bought a copy. Anyhow, all four books in the series are set at $8.99 and the ranking for the other three mysteries are over 28,000.
On Amazon, the four books range from $6.25 to $7.82, and again, the first book has the highest at about 800,000. Still, all of these prices are much higher than they would be if I was doing this myself. These days, I’m working on novellas and a Casey Holland short story collection, which I will release on my own. Pricing will be crucial. Since the Fussy Librarian survey will also be addressing the issue of reasonable prices for books under 125 pages, I’m really curious to read the results.