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How To Price Books And Ebooks
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You have put a long time into writing your book and you are rightly quite proud of it. You suppose that there may be a few little things that could be improved on, but you could spend the rest of your life nit-picking it. The time has come to get on with the hard part - selling it.
Let's assume that you have tried the traditional route of looking for a publisher and have not had it taken up or that you are part of the growing band of writers who don't even try to go down that route, because it is too difficult, too time-consuming and too disappointing.
So, you choose to self-publish and you have uploaded and formatted your book both as a paperback and an eBook. Pricing is the next hurdle. How do you work out what to charge?
Firstly thing to remember, is that you actually have two completely different products. First, you have a physical paperback, which will spend most of its life on a shelf and secondly, an eBook, the cover of which will rarely be displayed. This means that you have two completely different markets and a grey area.
I am getting on and most of my friends and I would not dream of buying a book that we could not hold in our hands, swap flies with, take out into the garden, down to the pub or onto the beach. Physical books can be lent out, swapped or sold and will look nice on a shelf.
However, there is an equally-sized market of people who just want to read the book. They will read it on their computer, their eBook reader or their mobile phone and then abandon it.
Now, from the writer's perspective, you have created a product, you want a decent reward for your labour and you don't care which medium you sell it on. You are providing pleasure or knowledge to the masses and that costs. But how much?
You will start by thinking about how much you want for your work, eh? $10,000 a year? OK, assuming you can sell 1,000 units a year, that makes a price of $10 + production costs, say $13 each for a paperback and $10 for an eBook.
If you write one book a year for ten years and sell 1,000 copies of each book each year, that is retirement on $100,000 p/a after 10 years work. You can then write a book every now and again to keep up with inflation. Easy, or not?
Well, it would be if every author stuck to these guidelines, but they don't. If you are reading this article, you are probably an unknown author. Why would anyone want to read your book? What makes your story or views worth $10 plus?
This is your problem and many authors have tried many ways to overcome it. However, only a few have been very successful, especially at the level of the previous example.
Most writers attack the problem with price.
You need to recognise your two markets and price accordingly. Check other books in your niche and match or slightly undercut them. Some research shows that $7.99 is a good price point for a paperback, but you may get only half of that and you may only get $1.50 from some vendors!
Some writers give the first few hundred (or thousand) away) to create a buzz. Some price eBooks at $0.99. In general though, eBooks are priced at between $2.99 and $4.99 and paperbacks at $5.99 to $7.99.
eBooks and so the pricing of eBooks is a new business and no-one really knows what is best, but what I have written above is about right at the moment.
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