Saturday, January 11, 2014

How much should an e-book cost?

I read between 20 and 30 books on my Kindle Paperwhite each year.

I think the PaperWhite is a superior reading platform, but I'll post another article about that.

I'm a free book hound.  I use Book Bub and I scour the top 100 free books often to find deals.

Right now I have over 80 unread fiction books in my favorite genres on my kindle and I got them all for free!  I know, I will probably never get to them all in my lifetime, but I like the fact that now I can go and choose a book from my "library" anytime I want.  Best of all the book is not sitting on the shelf nagging me to read it, "You paid $13.99 for me, when are you going to pick me up and get your money's worth out of me?"

So, how much should it costs?
- There is a near zero marginal cost from e-books (transaction cost and some minor storage/maintenance costs)
- It should cost no where near what a printed book costs.  I would say easily less than half and more like in the 1/4th range
- Many new releases seem to be in $15 range? (about $10 cheaper the a full price hardback in the brick and mortar store). Why? There is no reason for that kind of pricing structure.
- It needs to cost enough to have value to the person who bought it.  If you pay more, you feel more obligation to read it.  99 cents is too cheap for a full length book.  Save that price point for pamphlets, short stories and discounted books.  $1.99 is a good price point for older, out of print, books and shorter books.
- Once the book gets about the $3 range, I start to wonder if I really want to buy it and read it because it nags at me.  I can ignore a $3 nag, but a $5 nag is harder to ignore.
- Most full length books should be between $2.99 and $5.99.  With all of the great books out there that are being self-published on Amazon, I think the big publishers are going to soon realize that a $15.00 e-book is never going to compete with those who see where the market is going.

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