Pricing ebooks.

Short one today.

In another forum I received a complaint about the pricing of one of my shorts.  Obviously, it was more than that person was willing to pay.  But, here’s the thing.  There are reasons for pricing at certain points.

When publishing an ebook using Kindle Direct Publishing there are two “royalty levels”:  35% and 70%.  In some cases the royalty is determined by things like whether the book is exclusive to Amazon.  However one important factor is the selling price of the book.  To get the 70% royalty the book has to be priced at least $2.99.

So, if I price a book at $2.99, I get a 70% royalty.  That means for each book I sell, I get $2.09.  At $1.99 I only get a 35% royalty and, thus, get $0.70 per book.  I would have to sell three times as many books at the $1.99 price point before I’m making more than I do at the $2.99 price point.

At Amazon’s lowest price (aside from free promotions) each book nets me $0.35 and I would have to sell just under six times as many copies to before I’m making as much money as I am at $2.99.

Generally speaking, I have found that the lower price does not lead enough increase in sales to justify accepting the lower royalty rate.

That said, I do sometimes go with a lower rate.  In particular, when I have a series which includes several shorts I will pick one short to set at $0.99, the lowest price Amazon permits, as a “first taste is cheap”.  This allows readers to check out my writing and the series to see if it might be for them.  They can decide whether another book, even another short, provides as much enjoyment as half a six-pack of really cheap beer (of the “love in a canoe” variety), or maybe one or two better beers.

As examples, here are a couple of my “first taste is really cheap” stories.

From my science fiction FTI Universe:

Emergency Medical services on the Moon present new challenges, not all of which come with the territory. Kristine is an EMT in the Lunar Ambulance Service. Budget cuts and inadequate equipment make it increasingly difficult for her to do her job. William Schneider is finding that some of his subordinates have ideas of their own, ideas contrary to the corporate philosophy he is building, ideas that lead to shortcuts and trading lives for money. They find themselves riding their problems on a collision course to avoid disaster.

From my fantasy series “Knights of Aerioch”

Baroness Talisa leads the last few surviving members of her household through the mountains in the dead of winter, fleeing the changeling hordes that have destroyed the kingdom. In that world of white and gray she stumbles on an oasis of green, a garden, sacred to Treva, goddess of the wild things of the world. There, Talisa encounters the enigmatic guardian of the place who possesses great and mysterious magical power and who claims Talisa’s life as forfeit for trespassing in Treva’s Garden.

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