With the rising popularity of e-readers, writers and publishers are considering releasing e-books, either in tandem with the print version or, in some cases, as the primary or sole medium of publication. There have been several articles and blog postings about the pricing of e-books. If one were to browse online bookstores like Amazon, BN.com, and Smashwords, one will find that the prices range from free to $9.99 or more. $9.99 tends to be the standard for major publishers while indie writers and smaller publishers are more open to pricing towards the bottom end of the spectrum.
Here is the question: What is a good price for an e-book? On the business end, $0.99 is a great way to push a lot of units very quickly. Even if the book sucks, the reader hasn’t really lost much (except for time wasted reading such an awful book). However, as the writer who has spent months, years even, crafting that story, is it fair to cheapen the price just to drive sales?
I can understand both sides of the coin. The entrepreneur in me says that pricing is key. You want to sell the book, right? You can market, tweet, blog, and promote all you want, but if the price is too high, it’s not going to sell. However, the artist in me says I’ve spent way too long working on this book to sell it for under a buck. On the other hand, I’m not opposed to mixing up the pricing and running promotions. But setting my suggested retail price at 99 cents? I’m not sure about that…
Writers: You’ve worked hard on your book. For some of you, that book is your baby. What would be a fair e-book price to compensate you for the time, care, and money you’ve invested while also being mindful of the reader who has to buy it?
Readers: Do you feel that a book priced so cheaply automatically cheapens its quality in your mind? When is the price too high? Does price always correlate with quality? You’ve already spent about 100 bucks on that e-reader, what would you feel comfortable with paying to fill it?