Smashwords did extensive research and discovered that, all other things being equal, the price that sells is $3.99.
A few thoughts:
- I don’t buy digital books. I don’t even download them free, or, well, when I do, I don’t bother to read them. I’m a book in my hands guy. So as a buyer, digital price is irrelevant.
- The market expects that digital books will cost less than print. For good or ill, we have to be aware of the expectation, and if we defy it, we have to manage it, not just ignore it.
- For non-fiction, that expectation is lessened. We’re selling information, which is just as valid in any format. While I sell my digital books for $2.99 (because I haven’t changed them all to $3.99 yet) I see no issue with charging the same price for all formats. Eventually, I’ll move that direction, when I get my marketing machine back on the rails.
- For fiction, if you charge the same for digital as print, you’d better be famous. People looking to test taste a new author aren’t going to drop $10 on my book when they can choose from 1,000 other new authors charging 99 cents. They should, because my book is probably better, but judge the effectiveness of that statement by your own reaction to it.
- Price and value are not the same. Authors moan about demeaning our words by selling them cheap, that we’re telling people our work has lesser value. Poppycock. Gifts have no cost, but can have infinite value. If I build one of my $2,000 websites for a friend for $200, they certainly don’t think it’s only 10% as good. And that’s the secret: price is a number. Value is the outcome of a relationship. Build the relationship in advance, and they’ll perceive value, whatever the price.
This is the type of information I want to gather, analyze, filter and curate for Commonsense Zero-Cost DIY Marketing for Authors. Your thoughts, experiments, results are solicited and appreciated.