Monday, May 13, 2013

Smashwords Helps Authors Sell Books

When Tony sent me this link earlier today, I figured I'd post it for anyone interested in reading about e-book pricing and where the average is for e-books. For those of us who have books out with publishers we don't get much of a choice in the matter. The publishers set the prices and we have to live with them.

But for authors who have self-published, there's a different rule of thumb because you're cutting out the middle man, so to speak, which is the publisher, and in some cases the agent. And you're able to price your books more competitively. I do this myself with my own indie books. It's the reason I can have Cherry Soda Cowboy up for free on ARe this week.

 The most popular price points are FREE through 2.99.

They chose $2.99 more frequently than any other price point. In last year's survey, $.99 was a more common price point than $2.99. In this year's survey, $2.99 was about 60% more often.

$.99 remains a popular price point.

$5.00 and up has lost favor with indie authors and publishers compared to the same data a year ago.

It's an interesting article, but I'm not sure exactly how accurate it is in a general sense. I have to say that I find most of my books sales come from Amazon, the publisher's web site, and For me, and I'm only talking about me, Smashwords is like Kobo and B&N and the sales don't usually amount to much. I honestly don't even shop there myself for e-books. Not for any specific reason, other than I'm busy and Amazon and ARe are faster and easier for me. This could be genre specific as well. I don't know. Maybe people who read gay erotic romance are more prone to Amazon than Smashwords. I don't know that either. I do know it took me a while to actually realize I had to turn off that filter on Smashwords to see my own books show up. And I have a black belt in online shopping, trust me. I shop from my iPhone. Imagine how hard turning off that filter is for someone who is NOT familiar with online shopping or e-books. Before Tony showed me how to do it I just gave up and moved on.

So I would love to see how all this information plays out when compared to Amazon or other web sites where e-books are sold.

Indie ebook authors are earning royalty percentages that are 3-5 times higher than what traditionally published authors earn. Publishers are overpricing their books relative to indie ebook alternatives. This means that indie authors can reach more readers AND earn more money selling lower priced books at higher unit volumes all the while earning more per book sold than traditionally published authors at higher prices. The significance of these economic dynamics cannot be overstated.

That's a powerful statement above, and I wish I could see a survey from Amazon, because I don't think the majority of the readers out there, especially those who are just beginning to read e-books are hopping over to Smashwords to buy their books...or even indie books for that matter. I know a lot of people in my personal life who are just learning about e-books, as I'm sure most of you reading this post do. Ask them if they shop at Smashwords and they'll give you a blank stare. Or, just ask a stranger in the supermarket.

I hope Smashwords continues to grow and expand. I think Smashwords is the business of the future. I do think most of the information makes sense in this link, and in many ways it's valuable for some indie authors and publishers. I'm just not sure it applies to all authors and readers at this point in time.

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