Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Minefield e-book pricing

Since I'm going to release a new novel soon, I'm once again faced with the decision of how to price the book. I normally start with a low introduction price for a limited period of time, then go up to $3.49 which is about �2.50 give or take. And even that is awfully low compared to the work I put in. Whatever I do, I'll win and lose readers.

On the Amazon forum I read that many don't even bother with 'cheap' books anymore, because to them cheap=bad quality. They seem to have had some negative experiences.
Then you have readers who say they won't buy a book from a new and unknown author if it's not under a dollar or pound, which puts us self-published authors into an awkward position: we just can't win, but we want to. Readers, that is.

I'm beginning to think sites like smashwords or Project Gutenberg, where readers can download thousands of free e-books, has done the Indie market more harm than good; yes even the low pricing somehow doesn't seem right. For many authors the book took at least a year, for some even years to write, so it's not really fair to expect a low price. I know quite a few authors who have put a great deal of time and effort into their books before publishing them; they meet the standards of traditionally published books and I think these authors should be rewarded.

To be clear: I think having a book for free for a short period -- like the recent Amazon promotion -- is a great marketing tool, but handing out your book for free is like going to the office every day and not getting paid. I personally will leave the short stories on a low price, but will sell my novels for a more reasonable amount.

Since e-books seem to be the future, I think maybe it's time for us Indie authors to take action and set the prices higher, but also make sure we release good quality novels so the gap between traditionally published books and ours will close over time.

Are you self-published or a reader? What is your opinion?

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