Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Voodoo Review: The Great eBook Pricing Debate...

(Image by NASA) eBooks will never be found in future archaeological digs...

When I go into a bookshop, I don't find an enormous range of prices with various authors and publishers telling me their generic sci-fi book is ten times better than the one next to it, so they've slapped a price on it ten times bigger. If you're lucky, paperbacks all come in at around the same price, based on genre and length of book.

I've recently bought a tablet and started reading eBooks, and it's a disposable medium. If something is no good, it can be returned or deleted, similar to a library. If I love something and want to keep it to re-read, I'd buy a paperback copy. Having read one which was a bit of a disappointment not long ago, I was really pleased it was less than a quid's investment. I'd have put it in a second-hand bookshop if it was a real book afterwards, rather than kept or recommended it.

When you look at the top 50 UK Kindle books, most are under £2, some are even free, with only the very high-profile celebrity books sneaking in here and there at £4.99. It's an expensive toy to start with, so of course readers want to save on a few bargains once they've invested.

The charts are telling us what the people who read eBooks WANT to pay for their books, and HAVE paid.

All those books out there priced at £9.99 aren't getting a look in at these top rankings.

So I've put all my prices down to 99c/70p. (Except for my one 3-in-1 Heavy Duty Edition, still available at a whopping £2.12 for 1280 KB). Not because I want to get a top ranking, but because it's what the readers are demonstrating is a reasonable price, and what I've concluded from my own reading is reasonable. It's like a Lotto ticket every time - you may not enjoy the book, or you may love it and want to buy the hard copy. It's a small investment for whatever return you receive in entertainment terms.

(Beaulieu Motor Museum - Bond exhibit) Buy my expensive eBooks so I can get one of these! LOL :)

Eventually eBook pricing will find its own level, but it will be determined by what the readers are actually buying - not by the publishers.

L xxxxxxxxx


  1. Run for the hills, to quote The Maiden. This is such a controversial topic and I must admit I can';t for the life of me see why. Publishers are evil for pricing ebooks too high? No, they're just a bit thick at catching on. Indie writers are evil for pricing books too low? No, they just want *some* market position before publishers stop being the aforementioned "bit thick". I'm all for beautifully argued measured pieces but like I say there's so much vitriol. Do people really think it's better for them or anything else to try and prove to people they'll never convince they're "right" and look like a plank, or to keep their dignity even if it means agreeing to disagree.

    Very very best, and fingers crossed that Lotus isn't too long coming!!

  2. It does seem to be rather like the stock market. Perhaps the key is flexibility :) xx

  3. Hey, Lisa!

    Hidden's priced at £2.12, but I think that's a snip for such a chunky tome. It's selling ok at the moment, but if sales drop off I might drop the price for a while.

    Did you read Steve Games' thread on Autho? He's been having pricing fun and games (Scuse the pun).

    Dan, your comment's making me chuckle :)

  4. I did see Steve's thread - a good point to make sure prices match across formats so the distributor doesn't do it for you - or make you free :)

    It's great that you're selling, go go go! I only sold a chunk in one week when I had one book on a trial sale at 99c, the rest have been a mere trickle of a few Terrible Zombies. But it was my reading experience that made me drop the prices down - for some reason it didn't feel right when I was doing exactly that - looking for cheap eBooks worth a read having bought a new eReader tablet. Saw the situation from the other side of the fence :) xx