Pricing

There's often a lot of argument about this, but lets look at e-books first.

 

I recall when Amazon started to sell books for their Kindle, and there was massive media and public outcry because most publishers priced their e-book at the same price as their printed books. Now those who say that's fair by pointing out the pre-publishing costs were up against those who argued, "yes, fair enough, but after that it costs nothing to print, stock or ship, so those overheads should be deducted from the retail price." And of course they are right and they won.

It can be a matter of perception. A printed book is a solid object that has to be made and shipped, etc. A digital file is not. The latter is created once and then it can be copied a trillion times at hardly any cost at all. And buyers know that. People on line often used to getting stuff for free if they can get away with it.

 

There are e-books now for sale by famous writers from as little as $0.99. When one famous writer insisted his publisher drop the price of his e-books down to that, within a two days he had sold 1,000,000. So you think your e-book is really worth $9.99 then? Even $5.99? Never forget you have to compete with the prices e-books by famous very good writers sell for.

 

Printed books. POD is not a cheap system and you also have to compete with printed books by famous writers, so adding so much royalty that your book is priced way above books by those famous names simply is not sensible. It's hard enough to get a BOD book to compete on price as it is without making it any worse.

 

Rich writers, of which there are not many, usually get rich by churning out dozens of new books a year, earning a tiny amount of royalties per book, not a lot on each book. (Or/and they have sold the film rights).

 

We see people on here saying "But my 20 page story is amazing and worth $50!!!"  Sorry, no to both. Look at the price of really amazing stuff by established writers, and also read a lot of it, and ask if your story is that good, that it's worth 10 times the cost of those books (and if you still say yes, you may need therapy ... )

 

It is possible to get away with a high price if a book is very very useful to the CEOs of companies, for example (knowledge is power) and often that high price is set because not many people do need that knowledge, but it cost a fortune in specialist research.  The digital versions are still cheaper than the printed ones though.

 

The bottom line is, don't be greedy.

 

 

Comments

  • The problem is listing a book at 99 cents will make zero profit if listing from lulu. If you listed it direct from Amazon then you might make some profit. That's why so many books are priced high here because there is so little profit to be made otherwise.

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian

    Kevin,

     

    Authors can charge what they like; no one forces people to buy books.

     

    When it comes to print books even taking a royalty of $0.49 makes your book uncompetitive if it is distributed to Amazon who insist on taking a 50 % cut of the cover price, but some people do buy them.

     

    As for ebooks I sell more of the ones costing more than $0.99 than I do of the ones costing $0.99 No one has any proof on anything: there is no proof that you will sell more books if you charge $0.99, there is no proof that people will not buy your book if you charge $ 29.99 (in fact, I have proof to the contrary). What happens in the market happens; it is up to each author to experiment and find what works for them.

     

    Stop worrying about what other people are doing and break through that writer's block and get writing. You will feel much more fulfilled.

  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile

    Honestly, Kevin, unless you are making more money than I am publishing your books here, I wonder where you get the gumption to tell people how to do it "right".

     

    I mark up my works.

     

    150 page book?

    • $20 in softcover.
    • $30 in hardcover.
    • $9.99 for the electronic version.

    By your descriptions you would expect that I wouldn't make any money from this, but guess what? I do.

     

    My publishing business pays my rent.
    My publishing business pays my utilities.
    My publishing business pays ALL my bills.

     

    Hell, as of this winter, my goal is that my publishing business will pay for me to run it from a small tropical island instead of running it from the frozen Canadian wilderness where I run it from currently.

     

    Folks, I am greedy. I am doing exactly what Kevin is warning you not to do.

     

    And because of that, I can live off my publishing business.

     

    Why would I want to take advice from someone else at this point unless they are even more successful at this business than I am? Show us your numbers Kevin, explain how these strategies and tactics that you are telling everyone else to use are working for YOU.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The problem is listing a book at 99 cents will make zero profit if listing from lulu. If you listed it direct from Amazon then you might make some profit. That's why so many books are priced high here because there is so little profit to be made otherwise.

     

    Indeed, but there's no reason for adding 500% royaltySmiley Happy

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Authors can charge what they like; no one forces people to buy books.

     

    Indeed they can, but to say no one forces people to buy books is a bizarre statement. What forces people not to buy books is uncompetitive prices.

     

    When it comes to print books even taking a royalty of $0.49 makes your book uncompetitive if it is distributed to Amazon who insist on taking a 50 % cut of the cover price, but some people do buy them.

     

    Adding 100% makes it even less competitive. I am sure some do buy some, depending on the book, as I said. But look at it this way. Would you pay $6 for the latest S. King printed novel or $15 for a novel no has heard of by a person no one has heard of?

     

    As for ebooks I sell more of the ones costing more than $0.99 than I do of the ones costing $0.99 No one has any proof on anything: there is no proof that you will sell more books if you charge $0.99, there is no proof that people will not buy your book if you charge $ 29.99 (in fact, I have proof to the contrary). What happens in the market happens; it is up to each author to experiment and find what works for them.

     

    There's plenty of proof if you bother to look for it. I gave one example even. What happens in the market does not happen by accident.

     

    Stop worrying about what other people are doing and break through that writer's block and get writing. You will feel much more fulfilled.

     

    What writer's block? And this is just an observation, not a worry. It's even all part of Marketing ...

  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Bibliophile

    kevinlomas wrote:

     

    There's plenty of proof if you bother to look for it. I gave one example even. What happens in the market does not happen by accident.

     


    And if everyone follows the trends, then no one will be a trend-setter. 

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Honestly, Kevin, unless you are making more money than I am publishing your books here, I wonder where you get the gumption to tell people how to do it "right".

     

    Well if you bother to read about it you will find it's not just my opinion, and I am not at all the only person to give such advice on here even, but of course you all agree with them and give them Kudos. It's all a bit sad really.

     

    I mark up my works.

     

    150 page book?

    • $20 in softcover.
    • $30 in hardcover.
    • $9.99 for the electronic version.

    By your descriptions you would expect that I wouldn't make any money from this, but guess what? I do.

     

    No, not if you bothered to read what I said. Your books fall in to a niche, and other books like them are not at all cheap, because my sons used to buy them. Your books also compliment your excellent site's contents. A site that has been gathering fans for 6 years.

     

    My publishing business pays my rent.
    My publishing business pays my utilities.
    My publishing business pays ALL my bills.

     

    Well done. So? Perhaps you could even increase the price of your books? What can they be compared with?

     

    Hell, as of this winter, my goal is that my publishing business will pay for me to run it from a small tropical island instead of running it from the frozen Canadian wilderness where I run it from currently.

     

    Folks, I am greedy. I am doing exactly what Kevin is warning you not to do.

     

    No I am not, again you take it personally, you really should read what I said, and one other example I gave. I was speaking in general, don't take it so personally, and you know full well there are many books created at Lulu, even rubbish ones, with crazy prices for no apparent reason.

     

    And because of that, I can live off my publishing business.

     

    Why would I want to take advice from someone else at this point unless they are even more successful at this business than I am? Show us your numbers Kevin, explain how these strategies and tactics that you are telling everyone else to use are working for YOU.

     

    See, taking it personally again. If it does not apply to you, as it does to many, and you know it does, why reply? But I know why ...

  • HULSEYHULSEY UK Publisher

    I hopefully set my prices at an affordable and realistic price, though the profits are not great. Since I converted my print books to e-book, some seven months ago, my sales have increased drastically. No, I haven't splashed out on that yacht yet, or that hideaway on a sun-drenched island, but we all live in hope. I set my e-books at around £1-99, which gives me returns of £1-22 on Lulu, and from 77p to £1-05 on other outlets. The print books are where the problem is. You must set them at a high price to make even the smallest profit. The majority of my paperbacks are £9-99, but on Lulu I sell them at a 20% discount. On Lulu, I make £1-70 per book, and supposedly 0.79p elsewhere. I say supposedly, because some retailers such as Ingrams, the returns are sometimes zero. This has happened to me two or three times, and this was corrected each time I contacted the admins. I am not a greedy man, and I'm happy to sell a few hundred books per month. If I raised my prices, I fear the sales will drop. Anyway, to charge my readers anything over my set price for print books, I would not feel comfortable. To pay around £7-00 for a self published paperback after the discount, I feel is fair. For whatever reason, I sell very few books on Lulu, even though I do promote them.  Although this is not a gripe about Lulu, who I believe offer a great service, if they could find some way to print the paperbacks at a competitive and fair price, this would help us all greatly.

  • I see books in Amazon sell around 99 cents. Some books are even free. I'm wondering if writers have more profit on that.

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