Wednesday, July 17, 2013

eBook Pricing Experiment

Preface to the post: You can get all my short stories for free at the following locations: Smashwords - Kobobooks - Google Play - iTunes - Barnes & Noble. The remainder of the post explains why.

There all all kinds of opinions about how to price eBooks. Some people keep prices low, at $2.99 per novel. Others price short stories (with a bonus) at $2.99. Some say novels priced at $7.99 are better. Or $4.99. Or $6.99. Or shorts at $0.99.

Do you get the point?


There are so many suggestions and this is because there are so many variables. Pricing that works for one author may not work for another. In the end, there is no one way to price books that benefits everybody. So many other things come in to play such as the quality of the writing, book covers, genres, and more.

I've gone through many flucuations in how I price my books. Several years ago, before I had any novels, I priced almost everything at $0.99. After I had my first novel complete, I went with $4.99. For a while, I bumped up the pricing of novels to $7.99, but had no success. I then settled back into the $4.99 price. At the same time, I offered my short stories with a bonus story included at $2.99. I had some success doing this.

The majority of the time, I reached my conclusions on pricing based on what I read by others such as Dean Wesley Smith and J.A. Konrath. These guys know what they're talking about and I considered their word informative and smart. I still do.

But I would always ignore the disclaimer with pricing that basically said your mileage will vary.

With all this under my belt, I have decided on a pricing strategy I have not seen mentioned. Oh, I'm sure some authors are doing it, but I doubt many do. I came up with this strategy after considering books written by Philip K. Dick.

If you go on Amazon right now, you'll see that there are many PKD books on there. The novels all come with a price and they are generally $9.99 (I'm keeping this strictly about the eBook price). There are also many PKD short stories on Amazon that are free. This is because those stories are public domain.

I've read a lot of those short stories. Which in turn led to me reading some of the novels.

Which got me thinking: What if I price my shorts as free, in essence making them public domain, and my novel length works at a higher price point?

So that's what I'm doing. All things with pricing are an experiment. It may be that this strategy will prove ineffective for me. But my thought is that the shorts will give people a taste of what I write without risk. If they enjoy it, they'll be willing to spend the extra money on a novel.

Currently, this pricing strategy is in effect on Kobobooks, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play. Amazon will take a little longer to get this all implemented.

I'll see how things go over the coming months, sticking with this strategy throughout the year, and report back my results.

If you want to be the first person to try out one of the free short stories, here's a list of the author pages for the different stores where my books are sold:

Smashwords - Kobobooks - Google Play - iTunes - Barnes & Noble
(Amazon coming soon)