If you follow authors (especially self-published ones because they are the only ones that control the price of their books) or read the blogs of self-published authors it won’t take long to stumble upon a post about pricing books.
There is a debate about whether it benefits authors to offer an ebook free either for a limited time or permanently in order to draw reader attention to their books. There is more debate over price points for ebooks. Some swear by the .99 ebook. Others prefer the $2.99 point. Still others aim a bit higher, hitting the $4.99 -$5.99 price. Then, there are the well known authors published by big publishers. Their books are often released at a price point of $9.99.
In the days of paper publishing the cost of producing the actual physical book had a lot to do with the price charged for the book. If a book cost $5.99 to produce a publisher wouldn’t want to sell many copies at $2.99, for example. However, in the age of ebooks it doesn’t cost any more to create 1000 ebooks than it does to create 1 ebook, so authors and publishers are more inclined to price books where the initial costs of publishing the book (editing, cover art, formatting, etc.) are covered over the long haul as opposed to the short. In the modern scenario it is not uncommon for an author to release a book free or at .99 to spur word of mouth and to move the book up the sales charts at Amazon. Then, after the initial rush raise the price to $2.99, $4.99, or whatever the permanent price will be.
When free Kindle books first became popular I downloaded as many free ebooks as anyone else did. Sadly, I’ve not read that many of them. Once a book is on my reader it looks like all the other books. I no longer know whether it was a freebie or one I paid for. But what seems to determine which books I read is whether it is by an author I know or have heard good things about. Many of the free books are from authors I’d not heard of before. Most of the time when I have a few minutes for actual butt in the chair, feet up, luxury reading I am after a good reading experience and I will gravitate to the authors I know and like first.
I will buy books with engaging blurbs anywhere from free to $9.99 or so…though I do shy away from the $9.99 price point.
While I will still download a free ebook if it is from an author I know or if it has an engaging blurb, I am not out actively looking for free books and following all the leads to them like I used to do. The same is true really across all price points. It’s really about the promise the book makes via the author’s reputation and the book’s blurb. Price doesn’t figure in much at all until it gets up above $5.99 or so.
What about you? Does the price impact how many or which books you buy?
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