Pros and Cons of a “Cheap” Book – And I’m putting my prices up.

There is a balancing act that has to go on when selling a work of fiction – you want it to be affordable because you want it to sell, but if you make it too affordable, there’s a whole layer of readers who won’t touch it for being “too cheap” – I write double-sized books – the series started that way and I want to keep it that way, and being new and unknown at the beginning (naturally), I chose to make my work very cheap as enticement, which is also the reason I give away the first in the series as often as I am allowed to by Amazon/Kindle, simply so people can find me at little or no cost to themselves.

The paperback priced itself, costs of production dictated what a near 600 page large paperback size book should cost, but I saw no reason to have the Kindle copy anywhere near the same price. As a newbie, I looked around and never did get a handle on why some authors price their Kindle higher than their paperbacks. Maybe it’s because they sell more Kindle copies and that’s where the money is. Others charge equal amounts or slightly less. I charge only one quarter.

In various forums, there seems to be huge disagreement about prices. The argument goes that you’d never find a best-seller in the bargain basement and if an author treats their work as a cheap book, readers will perceive it as cheap effort and not be enticed. Others say that in these days of ebooks, all books could be and should be affordable for all.

What I have found is that no matter how cheap you price your book, there will be people saying they can’t afford it. My Kindle price is US$4.95. If people cannot afford $4.95, they cannot afford $2.95 or 99 cents, either.

So, it just might be that I have popped myself into the bargain basement, where no best-seller lives, with the thought of helping people who will only accept books for free, anyway. I have shot myself in the foot, in other words. The cheap sales bucket isn’t getting me a lot of sales and I have come to suspect that underpricing myself hasn’t helped.

Writers and artists have to eat, too. I would like to make a living out of this – I put a tremendous amount of time and effort into what I do, and I know my work is worth it. Even the equivalent of a part-time wage would keep me writing. Currently, just earning enough to cover my costs would be fantastic and I’m sure that day is approaching. So, please, it’s not me being greedy for a profit that prompts me to put up my price, it’s being greedy for a better chance and a wider audience.

*

I’m going to give the above $5 range a go. I’m going to lift myself out of the “cheap-book-who-cares-about-quality” sales bucket and enter the “Oh-this-must-be-worth-a-go” market.

For all those readers of this post who might be thinking, “Oh no! But I’ve nearly saved up my $4.95!” – you’ve got another month or so to do so, this isn’t happening this minute.

Freebies and specials will also still happen on occasion.

I’m trying to be as fair as I can and that includes being fair to me, also.

Please do share your experiences with deciding on or finding a price for your published book or books, or share your thoughts on my decision. This seems to be one area where there is little guidance but much opinion. 🙂

Cheers all,

😀

Allyson

18 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of a “Cheap” Book – And I’m putting my prices up.

  1. winterbayne

    As a reader, prices do not sway me on buying or not. I admit this may not be typical behavior. To me price does not reflect quality of writing or my potential enjoyment. Some of my favorite reads have been bargain basement. The average I pay though seems to be 5.00-7.00 bucks for 300 ish pages of novel.

    Reply
    1. A.D. Everard Post author

      Thank you – I agree, I too have found some great books in bargain basements. I figured I should give a go to those who have $5.00 as their cut off bottom limit, and will probably price my Kindle at between $8 and $9 (for 600 pages in the larger paperback size – 5.25″ by 8″). For me, too, as a reader it’s the story that will appeal and I don’t care about price, but for many price does count – both above and below the mythical $5.00. 🙂

      It’s impossible to get it right for everyone, which is a shame because I think we’d all love to.

      Reply
      1. winterbayne

        Most of my books are digital, Nook (B&N). If I have to I’ll buy Kindle (Amazon). I’m more than willing to pay 5.00-9.00 for a digital. The only time I hesitate buying a book based on price is if the digital book costs about as much as the paperback. It may not be right, but I feel a digital copy should be less than a hard copy. Now, this view could very well change after I’ve spent time working through publishing a book. I’m sure the experience will be an eye opener.

        Reply
        1. A.D. Everard Post author

          I totally agree with you on price differences between digital and paperback. Paperback should cost more because materials are involved – paper and printing costs money to the author. It’s physically impossible for me to price my paperback below a certain cost (the printer has to be paid) and no way I could get it anywhere near my digital price.

          As a customer, I will not pay the same for a digital as I would for a paperback. Seeing something at the same price as a paperback version will put me off buying a book entirely. I’ve even seen examples of digital being even more than a paperback, and I don’t understand that at all.

  2. D. Emery Bunn

    And here I was putting off picking them up because I barely have the time to read a book or two a month right now…Looks like I know what my next paycheck in 9 days is going towards.

    Reply
    1. A.D. Everard Post author

      LOL – very kind of you, at least I’m giving lots of notice. Hey, I should point out that the first book goes out as a free Kindle every now and then – next freebie session due sometime early April.

      See how kind I am? 😀

      Reply
      1. D. Emery Bunn

        But I don’t like getting free books from authors I like, even though in your case I only know you from your blog content. I’m one of those radicals who wants to throw money at people who spent time to give me entertainment.

        Reply
        1. A.D. Everard Post author

          That is a wonderful thing to say and HUGELY appreciated. I didn’t want you to feel cheated if you rushed out and bought it only to see it turn up as a freebie next month, so I wanted to let you know. I now take my hat off to you for being the person you are, and I rather wish there were more like you.

          Thank you so very much. 🙂

  3. Yuna

    Semangat pagi, Allyson! \^o^/

    As a book buyer and lover (even though gratefully i got yours free :)), i wouldn’t mind to buy a pricey one if i found it an interesting book based on the synopsis behind the book (paperback) and it goes the same way with a new author. 🙂

    and yes, you are right, when a new book is too cheap, i would ask “why?, is the book not that good?” and leave it…and sometimes without reading the synopsis. 😀 😀

    Semangat selalu my dear friend.

    Reply
    1. A.D. Everard Post author

      Thank you, Yuna, that is very important information. That is what I thought, too. I also have left books on the shelf that I thought were not worth it for being too cheap. Your words encourage me that I am doing the right thing.

      Semangat selalu with hugs. 😀

      Reply

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