The perfect price for an e-book

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What is the price? What does it mean to sell an e-book?

Well, considering that the e-book is not a tangible object, we can think about it as a software, and it’s a software if we really see what it is. You can have a license on that. When you buy an e-book from Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Google they can decide that the e-book you purchased it’s not anymore available for you and remove it from their servers for you, so you’re going to lose it from your Amazon/Kobo/Apple/Google device. It’s difficult it happen, but it can always happen, so the best thing is to make a backup of the e-book files when it’s possible, when you don’t have to fight against DRM.

But it’s not this the purpose of this post.

The purpose is to reflect on the e-book price concept. e-book is not tangible object, you can’t touch it, you can’t feel the smell of the pages, but, at the end of the story, it’s always a text, it’s a story an author wrote. What is the best price if the author is a selfpublisher?

The best price for an e-book is not an easy question, also when the author is not a selfpublisher.

You have to consider different aspects of the text/e-book itself.

How many people worked on it? From how many words is composed the story? Does it have DRM? Has been edited by a professional editor? Has the e-book cover been paid or is it a free image? Is it the first random image you find or you spent three days to find the one that fits exactly the idea of your e-book plot? Has been the text proofread? More and more energy has been spent on the e-book, so much more the price is going to grow up.

But the price for an e-book can’t be too high, specially if nobody knows about that e-book, that Publisher. An high price can be good for a well packed e-book, but usually we see ugly packed e-book with very high price.

Some example.

And if the price is over 3,99 $/EUR/£ people think about it. Specially if the author is unknown. If it’s selpublished you will think much more about the price, but if it’s been worked by a Publishing House you can be sure it has its own worth.

Mmm, are you really sure? I know well known Italian Publishing House that produce very ugly e-books. Full of typos, hundreds of typos, bad formatted, bad layout. In Italy you have no warranty. There are selfpublisher that do the homeworks better the Publishing House and, of course, Publishing House that do their homeworks better than selfpublisher. Each e-book has its own history. Believe me. And when you got an e-book full of typos contact the e-book store customer care and let them know. They have to recharge you for the cost of that poor e-book. Next time they will learn what the hell is to produce an e-book.

The perfect price is the price a reader consider perfect.

E-book readers are very demanding. They pretend high quality from a selpublisher at very low price, at least in Italy, not more that 99 $ for any e-book, but they spent also 15,99 $ for Publishing House e-books full of DRM.

An e-book without DRM has more added value, in my human opinion. Because it’s a respect form for the readers, because the DRM can be removed in less than one second on any computer and people don’t deserve to be treated as a lemon squeezer. DRM means to hide the not W3C validated ePub format. That means you cannot fix on your own an e-book, but of course you have not to fix it. It has to be the one that produced the e-book that have to do it for you. And can also means that if the ePub format is not valid, the e-book, in some cases, can be displayed on the e-reader in a very ugly way or can create problem during the reading.

So what is the perfect price for a selfpublished e-book?

Well try replying these questions:

  1. Are you a known author?
  2. Are you ready to give your work for free or sell it for less than 1 dollar? I mean a quality work where you paid some editors to have a more clean text.
  3. Is your e-book with DRM?
  4. Is the e-book cover very nice?
  5. Are you ready to spend you time to spreading your novel?
  6. How many words you have in the novel?

For a selfpublisher the price can be better from 2,99 $ to 3,99 $. Lots of people doesn’t buy your e-book if it costs from 0,99 $ to 1,99 $. This is what happen sometimes, but each market has its own rules. In Italy people don’t buy selfpublisher if they offer their e-book more than 99 $. And they are ready to spread shit on him/her if they find very few typos. It’s a very hard issue.

If you’re Italian, if you’re a selfpublisher, than try to contact a good Italian/English translator and move to the English market (USA/UK). It’s a different way of doing.

Set to 0.99 $ a story with less than 10’000 words. Try to set from 2,99 $ to 3,99 $ stories with at least 80’000 words. The final price depends from the the global energy you spent on it. Consider to experiment. Change the price. Try 0.99 $ for a while, try also 1,99 $.

Perfection doesn’t exist. So also a perfect price for an e-book doesn’t exist.

And what’s the perfect price for a Publishing House e-book?

For a Publishing House the story is the same. If they do their work very well and the writer they present is a good author they can also ask 9,99 $/EUR for an e-book, but it has to be the best e-book of the world. If not, than they should think to keep the price not more then 5,99 $/EUR. Of course the readers are different each other, but for me is important to don’t spend more than that. I don’t buy unknown Publishing House work. I have to know how they work on e-books, because on all the thousand Publishing House in Italy just very few knows how to treat with e-books.

The perfect price is the price a reader consider perfect.

So try to “meet” your reader, consider changing the price, try to experiment. A when you have lots of Amazon reviews you can consider, as a selfpublisher, to fix the price with the one you always wanted to assign to your e-book. And specially, let know to the world of your e-book. It can be also free, but if nobody knows about it, it all unuseful.

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