Thursday, July 12, 2012

About .99 E-book Pricing...

When I decided to price "Chase of a Lifetime" at .99, I didn't do it without thinking hard about it first. I took a lot of things into consideration before I did it, from the value of e-books to what might happen if readers assume my books will always be .99. Frankly, this is one of those times when I would prefer to have a publisher make these decisions for me.

I felt the same way about "Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street," when I first released that on Amazon. Was I devaluing my hard work, and was I devaluing e-books in general? I had to take into consideration that I paid a copyeditor and a cover artist, which I'd never had to do before with a publisher. But, on the other hand, I don't have and agent and I'm not giving a percentage on the back end to anyone but Amazon.

I took the pragmatic approach, the same approach I've taken with other businesses I've owned in the past that did well. Right now e-books are still in the minority and a lot of people don't know what they are all about. I do believe this will continue to change, and more people will be reading e-books until that's the only kind of book that will be available. But right now that's not the case. E-books are still something new and to price them the same way I would price a print book could be a complete turn off to readers. I've learned from my comment thread about book pirates that readers in Eastern Europe consider e-books nothing more than test books to check out, to see if they want the print book or not. There's still a long way to go with e-books, and I know it and I never ignore it.

I also know how my readers buy e-books. They don't just buy one e-book, spend a month reading it, and then go back a month later for another e-book. My readers buy anywhere from five to ten e-books a week, they read them all in one week, and then they go back and buy more the next week. And that adds up in cost. My own e-book budget last month was over two hundred dollars. I appreciated the deals I got with the books that weren't over-priced. I also passed on a few that were over-priced. In fact, there's on e-book, a BDSM anthology, I've been wanting for months and it's still priced far more than I would ever pay for an e-book anthology.

Right now, as I write this post, I'm in the middle of making a decision about the sequel to "Chase of a Lifetime," titled, "Chase of a Dream." I still can't go into details about it yet, but it involves pricing and how I'm going to go about releasing this title. I can say this: I will be releasing it as a .99 e-book for now. But as far as how I'm going to go about releasing it, due to the unusual nature of what I'm about to do with this book, is still up in the air. My main concern is to NOT confuse my readers. Whatever I do decide on doing will be centered on that one single objective.

I'm not the only one who has questioned how to price e-books, and whether or not .99 is too cheap for an e-book. In this post, over at "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing," Joe Konrath talks about it, too. So far, I have no complaints about the way I've priced my self-published books. And, for the record, I have no complaints about the way my publisher,, has priced "An Officer and His Gentleman" at .99. For a short time, "Pretty Man" was .99 and it did well. So price IS important.

Will my .99 books remain at that price forever? I can't say for now. I wish I could, but it's not possible at this point. I'm still learning as I go, and to make a promise like that would be unfair to readers. I can say this, all the books I release under my own press, "Ryan Field Press," will be consistent in price. In other words, I don't want my books on Amazon to be priced differently from those in Smashwords or Allromanceebooks...or anywhere.


mary gresham said...

Well, Ryan, you know how much I read every week, so I will tell you now, I likke the $.99 price on the books, but saying that, I also do not mind paying $3.99 and up for books that I know I will love, simply because of who wrote it and that includes you.
As for the future of e-books, well, lets just say, the only print books I've purchased in the almost 2 years since I got my first Kindle, are by author Dean Koontz and up until the fire, I had most of his books in my possession. But just think what would have happened if all of my 2000 plus m/m books would have been in print format, I would have nothing left. As it is, I only lost my Koontz books and the few m/m books that I got at the last GRL. The o ly electronic items I was able to save was my computer, my cameras, my brand new tablet and my Nook, Randy's Kindle was lost, but someone was very nice to us. I had put the Kindle 3g, which is what we had, on our Amazon wish list, not even beginning to think someone would buy it, but Mr. Philip Luling, an aspiring writer with one published book and another to be released soon, bought this for us and I had no idea who bought it until it came in and his name was on the gift label. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. He is one special person.
Anyway Ryan, I for one, am grateful for the $.99 pricing, but I would completely understand if you raised those prices and I think most other people would too.

ryan field said...

For now it will stay the same. At least for the rest of the summer. ]

Thanks for commenting :)

Patricia Fodge said...

I'm one of those readers who buy 5 to 10 ebooks in a week, and read all of them in that week. Believe me when I say .99 cents for a book is a huge bargain. I allow myself a 100.00 budget a month. it started out at 50.00 way back when. Once I run out of money for the month I read older books that I've bought and just never got around to reading, or read some of my favorite fan fiction to fill the time, till I can buy more books. :)

I've paid as much as 7.99 for a ebook, but it has to be an author I'm very familiar with. That is pretty much my price limit.

I first started buying ebooks back in 2006 when they were only offered in .pdf, .lit and html format. I've seen the prices change quite a bit since then.

ryan field said...

Thanks for commenting and backing me up. I hear this from readers all the time but I hate to publish any e-mails without permission.