Friday, October 21, 2011

Pricing ebooks

I have been thinking a lot lately about how ebooks are priced. Mainly because I just started to get back into the writing game after a brief absence.

(Not that it is a serious venture back into the field, more like a sticking my toe into a pool of slime and wondering why I did so. For those who are curious about how serious I am taking it, just slip over to Smashwords and take a gander at my little test project, Pizza Boxes on the Floor.)

Honestly, looking around the internet, it looks like the Wild West when it comes to determining ebook prices.

The traditional publishers are still secretly trying to charge the same amount for an ebook as they are for a physical copy. Actually, the other day, I saw a history book that actually cost more for the ebook copy than a physical copy. I am guessing that some publishers believe that people will be willing to pay for convenience.

In my case, I am not willing to pay for convenience. Or rather I am not willing to have to pay for a ebook and then have to pay again for a hard copy with actual page numbers that I can cite in a college paper.

On the other side of the scale, there are the pirates who believe that no one should make a penny from any ebook. I am sorry, my cats would like to eat; therefore, I need to get paid something. And yes, if I am going to be pirated, than one of the pirate is going to have to pay a copy first.

So the question will arise about why I choose a 99 cent price for a 8860 word ebook, especially one that a reader will some time can find almost the entirety of for free on the internet already.

Well,  I had three choices.

First option, the "reader names their own price"---there are two problems with this option. One, I know that a lot of readers would download the entire book and not read any more than the free preview that I am already offering; and two, there are outlets who would not carry the ebook if this option was choosen.

Second option, the "free ebook" option---I am sorry, my favorite charity is my cats, and they would like to eat. If I wanted to give stuff away, I would have choosen the first option; it would result in the same amount of income.

Third option, "pick a price that ends in 99 cents," better known as the iBookstore price force---iBookstore, if you are charging for a book, will automatically round the price to the nearest 99 cents. It is an iCommerce thing (I am sure that Apple is going to trademark that term soon enourgh).

So in the interests of greed, because we all know that occult writers only write books for the money, I went with the third option, and decided 99 cents was a good price for 8860 words.

Is 99 cents that much? Some people are going to say it is. But I do not think so. After all, that is how much a can of cat food is being sold for at Walgreens (and they label that a "great buy"). And my cats would like to occasionally eat.


Rufus Opus said...

Really? Your book is worth less than a dollar store knick knack?

The information in your book is worth one sixth of a value meal at a fast food drive through?

I base my prices on what I think the information is worth, not what I think people are willing to pay.

S. J. Reisner || Audrey Brice || S. Connolly said...

I have to agree with Rufus on this. I think it's worth more than that. For NF you can get a lot more than you can for fiction. An 8000 word short story - sure, go with .99 cents. But an 8000 word treatise on an occult topic - go for at least $4.99. I think it's worth it. :)