posted on October 29, 2013 by Jaycie Cash

Your Price was Right!

Libreria_Ebook_1In last week’s blog I mentioned a friend of mine was getting ready to try self-publishing a couple of eBooks and was wondering what she should charge for them.

Since I wasn’t sure what advice to give her, I turned to the wonderful Writerspace community for advice. You came through like the champs you are!

Both my friend and I are extremely grateful for the time and effort so many of you took to fill us in on your thoughts, desires and experiences. You folks really are the best!

If you’re interested in seeing how your fellow Writerspacians responded to the questions I’ve repeated below, please check out my What’s Your Price? blog, posted on Oct. 22.

If, however, you haven’t weighed in yet and would like to, please take this chance to do so. Who knows what we all may learn and/or what may result from sharing this information.

So to those of you with ereaders who haven’t responded yet, I’d still like to know: what’s your sweet spot?

Is there a particular price you expect to pay for a self-published eBook?

Do you think digital books should be priced according to genre? If so, which would you expect to cost more and which would you assume to be less?

If you stumble across an eBook that’s offered for free, do you typically snatch it up? If so, are you more or less (or equally) likely to read it than a book currently on your ereader for which you paid something?

The three most common prices for self-published eBooks currently seem to be 99 cents, $2.99 and $4.99. Of these three options, which amount do you most often pay?

How important is cost when you decide whether you’re going to buy an eBook?

Is there an amount you won’t go above? If so, what is it?

Any answers you can provide for the above questions will be greatly appreciated! By the same token, additional information that you think important enough to offer would be extremely helpful as well. One person who leaves a comment will be selected to receive a free copy of my debut novel, MRS. GOODFELLER.

33 thoughts on “Your Price was Right!”

  1. If a book has 87 pages & the price is 4.99 FORGET IT! ( and I have seen on like that) if it’s free it really depends how it’s written. I am not a big fan of first person stories or stories with only one pov. If it’s an author I really like I will pay up to 4 $ for their book. The more pages the better. I love long books. 🙂

    1. Hey Barb, Sounds like you know what you want and what you like. Now we know too. Thanks so much for that, it’s important info for us to have!

  2. Avatar Suzanne says:

    Price does factor in to my purchases. For an EBook, it depends on the length. A fair range is between $0.99 – $5.99. I have purchased some books for more, but I will not pay over $10.00. Both hard cover and large paperback covers, eventually come out in regular paperback for the price of $7.99. And with a store discount wind up costing less. I made the mistake of purchasing EBooks at the higher price only to see months later the prie come down. I certainly don’t want to cheat the author of their earnings, but given the number of books I read, I have to be smart with purchasing. There have been times, it is cheaper to get print copies, than EBooks.

    1. I hear what you’re saying, Suzanne. I agree eBooks should cost less than print. Thanks for joining the discussion!

  3. Avatar Caprice M. Estelle says:

    Having been an avid reader for years and also I go to the Library or pick up books at garage sales. When I received my e-reader as a gift I was determined not to pay to read any books, but only order the free ones. I have kept to that rule. I have also discovered a number of writers that I have enjoyed and maybe without my e-reader, I would not have thought to get their book at the Library. I keep a list of my favorite authors and any new books that come out, so that when and if they are on my e-reader I can get them, but only if they are free. I am not cheap, but I have patience and know that eventually it will be on my e-reader. I have no need to pay for any books, there are so many available sites to get free ones.

    1. Sounds like you’ve figured how to make the system work for you, Caprice. Congrats for that and thanks so much for responding!

  4. I’m pretty cheap when it comes to ebooks. I usually don’t go above .99, but sometimes if I know and really like the author, I’ll spend $1.99. Very rarely do I go over that amount.

    1. Gotcha! Thanks, Regina, it’s good info for us to know!

  5. Avatar Lisa says:

    Cost is very important to me. Since I read a lot of books, I need to be sure that I am getting good value. I never pay full price for paperback books, and I do not want to pay full price for ebooks either. I rarely go over $5. And a $5 has to be from someone I already know that I like. Anyone new that I am reading for the first time, I like to go free-$3. Free is the best because I can read them and if I like them I will then pay for the books. But never more than $5.

    1. Makes perfect sense to me, Lisa. Thanks for letting us know!

  6. Avatar Virginia Conti says:

    Price doesn’t determine my purchase the ratings and comments do if it is the .99 price rated three stars and the comments are mediocre i am not buying.Now if the book is four or five stars comments are excited with many people saying they are looking for the authors back list then I am going to buy even at 4.99. I have realized that both free and purchased books can be bad, so i read the comments and the red flags that will keep me from downloading a book are the story didn’t make sense the heroine was to wishy washy, there an inconsistency to the story line. I wish that you could download any 20 pages from a book to see if you want to buy it. the first chapter is always good enough to intrigue you but then it goes down hill. I want to know if there is hot sex scenes or no sex scenes or implied sex scenes. I spend a lot of time on blogs but some blogs are busy being polite about books so I feel I am getting a watered down opinion of each book. sorry if i go toff track. I would suggest se start her first book out at 2.99, that leaves her room to put it on sale for .99 and gives her room to increase her price on her following books as she develops a following.

    1. Great suggestions, Virginia. I’ll definitely pass them on. Thanks so very much for taking the time and effort to fill us in!!!

  7. Avatar Brenda says:

    I get all the free ones that I find and I read them just as much as I read the ones that I pay for. The reason why I don’t like to pay a lot is because I can’t share them with my friends like I could a paperback book. I also buy a lot of the .99 books. I will not pay more in 5.00 for an ebook, I will just wait until the library gets it.

    1. I hear you about the books, Brenda. My friends and I used to do a lot of that. Less now due to the advent of eBooks. Thanks so much for letting us know your approach and thoughts!

  8. Avatar Kath A says:

    If it is an author I love I will generally pay any price, having said that I recently ran into a situation where a favorite author recommended another author so I bought the ebook (I no longer have space for real books). I enjoyed the book and since it was part of a series I went on line to buy the others at B & N and was shocked to see the price for digital was higher than paper–I couldn’t justify the expense so I didn’t buy them.

    1. Kath, I take the same approach as you, I’ll pay whatever for an author I really enjoy, but absolutely believe ebooks should be cheaper. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Avatar Kylan Alexander says:

    I don’t buy until it’s under 5.00. Unless I really don’t want to wait!

    1. Hey, a woman’s got to have her standards, Kylan. Thanks for telling us yours!

  10. I always go for free, but I hate paying more than five dollars for an e-book, it just seems silly to pay more then that for a file that is so small even if the book is long, full length novel it is still a small file in comparison to others. So anything under $4.99 is up for grabs, but the cheaper the better.

    1. Noted, Hannahdabink! Thanks so much for letting us know! Take care.

  11. I’m an avid reader on a fixed income, so price is very important to me. If I’m going to pay more that a few bucks for a book, I usually bypass my e-reader altogether and buy a used hard copy, then resell it when I’m done. I simply can’t afford to waste money on a book I’ll only read once. (I admit I’m torn between wanting to put money in the pocket of the author, and the principle of ‘recycle, reuse.’) When I was still working, I belonged to several book clubs and when I finished a book, I’d donate it to the local library. Now that I’m retired, this tough economy forces me to make equally tough choices.

    There are exceptions. I’m a writer myself, so if I need something for research, I’m willing to pay more. I’ll also pay more for books on writing to help me hone my craft. The last exception is books in a series I adore: Diana Gabaldon, F. Paul Wilson and writers of other terrific series are always worth a little extra because I’ll read those books again and again.

  12. Avatar Brenda says:

    It the book is 4.99 or more forget it, I will just buy a hard copy of the book!

  13. Avatar Sharon Williams says:

    It depends on how much I want to read the book, but I would say $9.99 is a good limit for me for ebooks.

  14. Having read all these comments, I can’t think of much to add. Fixed income (retired) so I can’t pay much for my books. I do reread, though, if it’s good, which actually saves me some money. When I can’t find anything I feel I can afford, that I might like, I just reread something.

  15. Everything you’ve written makes perfect sense, Kaye. I’m so glad you’re going to the time and expense to hone your craft. That’s so incredibly important and it’s flat scary how many new writers either don’t realize or don’t accept that fact. Thanks so much for joining the discussion, I very much appreciate it!

  16. my sister bought me an ereader last yr for Christmas (she loves hers) I hate it, I love the feel of a solid book and you can give me FREE books but I prob won’t care, I want my books and still prob spend a good $20 a month on books (and my wish list is nasty long on amazon)

    1. Clearly you know what you like, Bina. Good for you! Personally, I love my ereader, but recognize they might not be for everyone. I’m often on the road with my work, so having an ereader helps to save me from the horrifying possibility of finding myself bookless. Appreciate you letting us know where you stand!

  17. Avatar Zita R says:

    I expect to pay $2.99 – $3.99 for a self-published eBook. I do not think digital books should be priced according to genre. If an eBook is free then I will read the blurb and the reviews. If I like the blurb and the reviews are good then I will as you phrased it snatch it up and I will read it when I get to it. Books I’ve wanted to read and paid for will be first on my TBR as are those from favorite authors. I would probably say that I pay $2.99 most often for favorite authors and $0.99 for new authors as I wait for the books to come on sale. Price is an important factor when you are an avid reader. This reader read 200 books last year, some print editions others digital. The cost does add up so I will wait for sales. The amount I won’t go above varies, for favorite authors probably $4.99, for new authors $0.99. New authors need to prove themselves to me. This reader has been burned by the quality of eBooks on too many occasions to want to pay more for an untried author. One pet peeve of mine is buying an eBook when it comes out at full price and then two weeks later it goes on sale. That is another reason to wait before purchasing.

    1. Zita, Wowsers, 200 books. You are an avid reader! Certainly understandable why you need to watch price. I hear what you’re saying about being burned. All too often any more publishers (individual authors AND publishing companies) are far too laissez faire when it comes to watching the quality of their editing and ensuring that they turn out the best possible book. Here’s hoping your future is filled with fantastic novels! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  18. Avatar Linda Barrows says:

    I usually buy books in the range of .99, 2.99 to 4.99. Have only paid 7.99 for two authors that I had to have because of the series and being so hooked on them so aganst my better judgement I paid the higher price. Have woundered who sets up the prices of books it seems the pricing is all over the place, it doesn’t make any since.

    1. Linda, Book pricing is set by the publisher, be that the individual author or a publishing company. And you’re right, sometimes it doesn’t seem to make much sense, at least not to me. Thanks for letting us know the price ranges you prefer. Take care!

  19. If I really want a book,I don’t let price stop me,but I only do this for authors that I have read for sometime and know every book is a “winner”.I do jump on a lot of freebies. Itis a great way to check on an unknown author and has led me to purchase the rest of the series if I get hooked on the story.I would prefer not to spend more than 4.99 but have for wellknown authors.

    1. Carol,
      Like you I love finding new authors I enjoy and I agree freebies are a great way to do so. I think you’re right on cost as well. Thanks for letting us know your thoughts and experiences!

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