Why My Ebook is Priced Less Than $5

I’m not in the class of people who pay top dollar for hardbound books unless the book is an important reference work. For pleasure reading, I’m a paperback-buyer, used-book-buyer, book trader, and public library fan. Now I’m a fan of inexpensive ebooks, especially independently-published ones.

Ebooks are–and should be–cheaper than physical books. I think a lot cheaper. A physical book can be traded with friends, donated to a library, or sold at a yard sale.

While some ebooks can be lent to someone else one time, most traditionally published ebooks do not come with this privilege. J. K. Rowling’s new novel, The Casual Vacancy, is not lendable, and the ebook price  is 14.99.  That’s still high for an ebook, thought it’s down from its opening price a few weeks ago of $18.99, a price that made a lot of people feel gouged. I thought it was greedy, though I suppose some of the price was necessary to plaster the media with that red cover.

When I priced the two versions of The Girl on the Mountain, I wanted both to be affordable, so the paperback is 14.99 and the ebook is 4.79.  After Amazon takes its cut, I make the same $$ on sales of both versions.  I set the price because I’m in charge–an independent author, with no publisher backing or advertising.

The publishing industry is beginning to worry that low-cost ebooks will pull down the prices of their publications. You don’t have to go far to find an article or blog bemoaning the poor quality of independently published “cheap” ebooks.

I agree there is a ton of poor quality in independently published books, but in my opinion, also in books from traditional publishing houses.  Low-cost ebooks are filling the reading needs of people who want to read something new every few days and can’t afford to pay publishing house prices. I care about them.

I love the advantages of ebooks, especially their ability to make the print larger! If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can download free Kindle reader apps for your PC, your iphone, ipad, android, etc. I started with Kindle for PC because I loved being able to download sample chapters of a book.  I now sample about twenty books for every one I buy.

So my ebook for Nook as well as Kindle is $4.79. I wanted it to be under $5.00. The odd 79 cents was a whim.

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9 Comments

Filed under price of ebooks, The Girl on the Mountain

9 responses to “Why My Ebook is Priced Less Than $5

  1. joan9221

    I agree with your assessment that the price of an ebook should be considerably less than a print book. In many ways, I prefer to have my reference books in PDF format (for search capabilities) backed up with a print copy. So far, I have only been able to do that with one new book, and that was The emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi (of CC “fame”). At the moment, my ebooks are priced at $3.99, but I still don’t know what the sweet spot should be. The one exception I’ll make is that I’ll pay the higher prices for my favorite authors.

  2. I’ve never read as much as I have since low priced e-books have come on the market. No matter what the price and who the author, you never know if you’ll like a book until you’ve read it, so a hefty price and a well-known name doesn’t guarantee enjoyment. Low cost e-books have led me to discover scores of authors I may not have had the pleasure of reading if their books weren’t so affordable . Nice post, Carol. Thanks. I’m looking forward to reading yours in the near future, by the way.

  3. Pingback: How do you like your books? « Run4joy59's Blog

  4. Since buying my Kindle, I’ve discovered so many new authors…looks like I just discovered another one today!!

  5. Lindy Moone

    Hi Carol! I agree that eBooks by “published” authors such as Rowling should be much cheaper than they are — but worry about the competition when they make that leap! Like most indie writers, I’m also a voracious reader with limited funds, so the Kindle has been a great opportunity all round. I can afford to sell my first eBook at 3.99 because there’s just me to support (and to blame!) and I now buy other indies’ work (like yours!), and hold out for special offers when it comes to the traditionally published authors.

    For anyone thinking of buying Carol’s book: I loved it so much I reviewed it for Amazon.

    • Lindy–I’m hoping more and more good writers will opt to indie-publish inexpensive ebooks, which are a great bargain for everyone. People who like to buy expensive hard copies will still do it–meanwhile, most of the world is on a budget. And there are never enough good books at any price for voracious readers, so I don’t think good indies will be hurt if ebook prices come down. Still, I doubt it will happen.

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