How to Choose the Right Price for Your ebook

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The eBook Price is Right. Or is it?


Your eBook price will have a lot to do with its discoverability. What’s the ideal price point? Does genre play a factor in pricing? Fiction vs. nonfiction? Questions about eBook price are among the most frequently asked by our authors and prospects.

Should you price your eBook at $.99? $2.99? How about $9.99?


I remember hearing this question six years ago from self-published authors and it continues today. In fact, BookFuel publishing specialists tell me questions about eBook price are among the most frequently asked by our authors and prospects. That should be no surprise – it’s one of the most important factors in the discoverability of a self-published book.


Back in 2012, I addressed some eBook pricing questions in a BookFuel blog post, “How Much Should You Charge For Your eBook?” Surprisingly, a lot of the information in that post remains valid, especially for brand new authors embarking on their first self-publishing efforts.


Four years later, I can offer some new information based on BookFuel authors’ sales results. But first, let’s review how pricing affects the amount of money authors receive from Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and the other retailers. For the purpose of this post, we’ll use the percentages paid by Amazon:



If your eBook is priced between $.99 and $2.98, Amazon pays authors 35% of the gross selling price (35¢ – $1.04). If your eBook is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, Amazon pays out a royalty of 70% on all Kindle titles ($2.09 – $6.99). If your eBook is priced over $10.00, Amazon pays out only 35%. Most of the other eBook retailers have similar price banding.


Please note – your exact payout might vary from this formula. Amazon pays a smaller net payout on sales in territories outside the US and books with larger file sizes.


Let’s add to the 2012 discussion in the form of a sample Q&A format:


Is setting my book to $.99 – or even free – the best way to attract readers?


The latest evidence seems to indicate that book giveaways are beginning to lose steam. Thanks to sites like BookFuel, it’s relatively easy for readers to find low-cost and even free eBooks in their preferred genre.


Some of our more successful BookFuel authors continue to utilize some kind of discounted promotions to help attract readers. Instead of entire books, however, it might just be a few bundled chapters. Or they may lower the eBook price for a very short time to instill a sense of urgency.


Does genre matter when setting the right eBook price?


Based on BookFuel sales data, it’s starting to look that way. For the highly competitive genres of Young Adult and most fiction books, the market seems to be settling in at $2.99 to $4.99. However, for most non-fiction titles, our authors are seeing tremendous results at the $9.99 price point. Many self-help and spiritual titles are seeing good sales both in terms of units and sales dollars. The same can be said for specialty and textbooks. Authors could and should charge more for their eBook if it doesn’t have a huge amount of competition within its genre.


Major publishers are pricing their authors’ eBooks higher: $12.99 and more. How does that affect my lower-priced self-published book?


Amazon, iBooks, and the Big 5 publishers are using what’s called an “Agency Pricing” structure. This means publishers set their own prices and won’t allow any retailer discounting to take place.


I have 3 (or more) eBooks published now. How does this affect my pricing strategy?


With more “inventory,” a self-published author has options. You can slice and dice up your books – even your chapters – and repackage them at various price points. For some very practical advice, I recommend you check out one of my favorite blogs, The Newbie’s Guide To Publishing, by JA Konrath. Go deep into the archives and learn how he has bundled titles, created introductory singles, and more. You can also view the results of his many and varied pricing tests.



For self-published authors who have been at this now for a few years, the original pricing question could be restated: “How much should I be charging for my books now?” The answer is: “As much as you can.” In other words, charge the highest price at which your books continue to sell consistently well. Lower than that, and you’re doing your hard literary work a disservice. You might also be sending out subconscious messages about your book that are turning off prospective readers.


One of the best things about self-publishing is the control every author has over his or her product. While it’s tempting to try to maximize earnings from the start of your self-publishing experience, the reality is that you need readers more than revenue. It’s critical that you build a readership: It’s your main priority. So you do whatever you can to entice people to “try” your book.

Here you can check 5 easy and essential steps of ebook publishing,


For more insights and tips on self-publishing and eBook pricing strategies, visit our website or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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