The writing industry is moving into e-books faster than you can say ‘save the trees’. The trouble, for now, is that we’re still working out how much an e-book should be sold for in comparison with a hard copy.
No one has a set strategy for determining price value on an e-book but there are ways and means to estimate it. If you want to know how much your book should sell for online then use the following questions to estimate the price:
What Form of Book are You Selling?
The length and style of your book will have an impact on how much it can be sold for. If you’re selling a short story that can be completed in an hour, you’d need to price it much lower than you would a full-on novel.
Another factor of the form involves the demand of said form. These days, series and dramatic novels are in high demand and as such can be sold for more than a history book or a biography. On the other hand, there are so many of those books being sold as e-books these days that you’d need to write a doozy to actually sell it for more than most others.
Is Your Book being Sold in Hard Copies?
If you’ve already managed to get your book published and sold off in hard copies, then you can base your price around what the hard copy’s value is. An e-book should never cost as much as a hard copy. The hard copy costs money to be produced and as such increases its worth. An e-book requires nothing but a bit of internet bandwidth.
For example, if your hard copies are being sold for $20, then your e-book should be less than half that. If your book is only selling for $10 in hard copies then the e-book will likely be worth $2-3 instead.
Balancing Cost and Numbers
First off, if you plan to sell through Amazon, make sure your book costs $9.99 or less. Amazon offers 70% royalties to books under $10, but only 35% for those above it. That means you would need to sell your e-book for more than $20 to earn as much as you would for selling at $9.99. (And no one would pay that much for an e-book anyway)
If we look at the average cost of most e-books, very few popular e-books are under $3. So that means your e-book should be sold for $3-9.99. My recommendation would be to sell between $3-7 based on your reputation. That price range seems to be the most successful.
As for choosing between $3-7 for your e-book price, it depends on how many customers you expect to have. If you’re able to sell 100 copies for $3 as opposed to 10 copies at $7, then a lower price earns you more money. However, if 80 copies could be sold for $7 then that would earn you more in the long run.
At the end of the day, so long as you follow the estimate above, your book should do well as an e-book. Experiment with the price and see what kind of response your customers give. Eventually, you’ll find the most lucrative price range and be more than ready for your second e-book!