There’s a downside to being an outsider. Since you’re not privy to the rationale that business decisions are based upon, then you don’t truly understand why they do what they do. Traditonal publishers charging way too much for ebooks and Amazon trying to push prices as low as possible confuses the heck out of me. Quite frankly, I think they are both way off point.
As far as I’m concerned the traditional publishers are shooting themselves in the foot with their prices. Here is what they, and now, the self-published author need to understand: I do not have to buy your book. I may want to buy your book, but I do not have to buy your book. And if you have over-priced it, then I will not buy your book. I recently decided to load up my Kindle with my all-time favorite books. I looked up Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea and the publisher wanted $12.99. Which is horribly overpriced for a book that has been on the market for this long, so I didn’t buy it. And I’m not going to buy it until the price comes down even though I would love to have it on my Kindle.
That was an instance of looking for a specific book, but you’ll notice that price still played a big factor in my purchasing decision. But in most cases I’m not looking for a specific book, I’m just looking for something to read. Here is what the seller needs to keep in mind: in the second case I have not chosen your book because I must have your book. I have chosen your book because I’m narrowing down the field of books available for sale. I do this, as I’ve written in previous posts, by looking at titles and covers, reading descriptions and reviews. Now, I’m checking out prices, so price is another factor that you need to understand when you go to sell your book.
Back in the day you pretty much knew how much a book was going to cost. If it was a paperback, then it was this much. If it was a hardback, then it was that much. These days prices are all over the board. This is where I think Amazon and the traditional publishing houses missed the boat. They didn’t take into consideration the fact that the consumer already had fixed in their mind how much a book should cost and they were more than willing to pay that price. In my mind, and I have heard others say this, the price of an e-book should cost no more than a paperback. Mainstream publishers are going way beyond that price and are losing sales because of it. Amazon is going way below that price, and while sales are up, revenues are down, so they’re losing money because of it.
What the self-published author needs to know is how much I’m willing to pay for that book and not to go over that price. Otherwise, you’ve just lost a potential customer.
Now, I’ve talked about what your price ceiling should be, and in the next post, or posts, I’ll talk about other pricing considerations.