Why you don’t want 99 cents eBooks

July 1, 2011 at 9:45 am | Posted in Books, eBooks | Leave a comment

Author Dean Wesley Smith wrote an interesting article that takes a mathematical approach to the debate on book pricing. The debate at hand is the bottom dollar pricing of books at just 99 cents. Mr. Smith averages that at four novels a year an author can make over $100,000 in their sixth year by only selling 120 books per month at $4.99. On the other hand if the books were sold at a mere 99 cents each, you would have to sell 1,200 books each month. That’s a factor of ten difference between the two. Further more Mr. Smith points out that the sales numbers differentiate between a low midlist sales number and a toplist/bestseller number. To make the same amount of money with 99 cent books, you would have to maintain the volume of sales of a toplist/bestseller.

Now this pricing outlook equally applies to eBooks. If you peruse the online market places, prices do indeed fit between that 99 cent to $4.99 pricing scheme (for independent publishing). A lower price might entice more readers to purchase your work but using Mr. Smith’s numbers it becomes apparent that in the long run deep discounts don’t pay off as well as a nice, respectable $5 price tag. Overall it makes sense. A book is a book whether it’s in electronic format or not. If it’s a good book there is no reason to discount it to bargain bin prices.

From a buyer’s point of view cheaper always looks better. However the authors we love can’t stay in business if they give their work away for free. As a reader it’s a trade off between wanting cheap books and wanting more books. Paying a little bit more for a book could mean the author will get to continue writing that series you so thoroughly enjoy. And remember: preview the book before you buy! Some people might feel that wasting 99 cents on a book isn’t so bad, but there’s no reason to waste any money at all when most online sellers offer free previews and excerpts from eBooks.

You can read Dean Wesley Smith’s article here where you’ll be able to see all the mathematical figures he put together. I also recommend checking out his other articles on writing as he has some very good advice and insight.

Note: Dean Wesley Smith is a science fiction author known for his Star Trek novels, licensed property novels such as Smallville, Spiderman, X-men, etc, as well as his original novels. He is also married to fellow author Kristine Kathryn Rusch who wrote Star Wars: The New Rebellion.

Posted By: Skuldren

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