As you may or may not remember, back near the beginning of June I started an experiment re: eBook pricing. From then until now, all my eBooks have been priced under $2 each. The reduced pricing ends after today (so if you haven’t grabbed your copy of any of my eBooks, today is the last day to take advantage of these reduced prices)…
There are a couple of reasons for this; the main one being what I’d discussed at the outset of the experiment: I wanted to see whether volume of sales would increase with reduced prices. I’d even decided that overall sales volume is more important than overall profit, such that if enough copies were selling at the reduced prices to equal (or improve upon) the amount I was earning before the experiment, I’d keep the lower prices. Sadly, the rate of sales remained about the same at reduced prices as it was at my original pricing.
There’s another important reason, and it relates to some recent news from Smashwords. Starting soon, all eligible eBooks available through Smashwords (all of mine should be eligible) will also be distributed through Barnes & Noble’s eBook channels (including fictionwise &c.). This is great news, puts my books in front of even more potential readers, but it does come with an important caveat: sales through the B&N channels will be subject to the normal retail price cut that booksellers demand, so while Smashwords still pays authors 85% of revenue, for sales through the new channels, that’s probably 85% of 50% of list price. Getting close to the kindle cut there, actually.
Finally, and this isn’t something I’ve already got the answers to, I’m thinking more and more lately about the idea of the value of a book. Regardless of format & delivery method, whether it’s hardback, paperback, audio CDs, an MP3 CD, a PDF, or a .txt file – the thing in common between all of them is the book itself, the IP. So, what’s the value of that IP? What is the value of the book? I’m not sure, and I’m not sure how a proper conception of the value of the book will alter the pricing landscape of the various editions and formats it’s made available in, but for right now I’m leaning in the direction of a “maintaining the value of the IP” position & I want people to know that the value of the book, the IP at the core of whichever format they’re buying, is more than $2.
So tomorrow I’m going to raise the prices of all my eBooks, on Smashwords and for the kindle, back to their full (1/2 paperback) original prices. And soon I’m going to put together a video clarifying why I’ll always offer my books for free.