Are We Seeing a Trend in Prices for eBook Best-sellers Going Up?
The best-selling eBooks of recent weeks have shown an interesting trend for what readers are willing to pay for eBooks that appear on the best-seller lists. By my calculations these best-selling eBooks of the past few weeks were selling for an average of approximately $7.60 which is significantly higher than the average for best-sellers in previous months.
This is significant as the price of eBooks has been a hugely debated topic. Some say that because they are digital products and have lower costs to production that they should be a lot cheaper to buy. They are in fact a lot cheaper than printed books. In Australia printed books will often sell for prices well beyond the $30 mark. Hence the closure of many of the major bookstores as readers become more savvy and confident in buying online.
In tracking the prices of best-sellers I have noticed a gradual increase in the last six months from around the $5 price point to now surpassing the $7 mark. It is probably too early to call it a trend as we will need to monitor prices over a 12 month period. However, it does show that customers are willing to pay this price for an eBook. Yes, they are best-sellers and they are eBooks from well-known authors.
Self-published authors have traditionally priced their eBooks lower, often starting out at the .99 cent price mark. Many recommend the $2.99 or $3.99 price for a self-published eBook but never over the $7 mark. These eBooks priced over the $7 mark are often published through publishers. Yet, we see eBooks from self-published authors such as Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking achieving the same success. So why should their best-selling eBooks be priced lower? Maybe as a self-published author they chose this price which is their right.
The rise of self-publishing appeared to cause a drop in the prices of eBooks over the past few years year which is not ideal for authors as it reduces what we take home. We put a lot of effort into writing an eBook and should be rewarded appropriately. This recent increase in the price of eBooks, even though they are best-sellers, is one we all hope will continue for fair value. Ofcourse selling your first eBook for a low price to establish yourself and get your eBook in front of those readers who buy in this price range can be used as a marketing technique.
This eBook pricing debate poses the question; Have self-published authors pushed the prices for eBooks down? Has this expectation also pushed down the prices for eBooks by authors who are represented by a major publisher?
I would pose the question of; Why is there still a difference in the prices of eBooks between those authors who self-publish and those who have contracts with publishers? We have seen numerous self-published authors produce quality best-selling eBooks.
I believe that the positive recognition now garnered by self-published authors will provide these authors with the opportunity to also price their best-selling eBooks at an equivalent price to their traditionally published fellow authors. It will still take some time for this ‘equilibrium’ to occur but it is happening. And self-published authors who become best-sellers can help this along by raising their prices where and when appropriate. Ofcourse, we constantly tell authors that they have the control and power to price their eBook at whatever price they choose. I can foresee that soon best-selling self-published authors will also recognize the importance of pricing their eBook at the appropriate and deserved price such as the $7 mark.
To clarify my point, authors should have the right to choose the price for their eBook whether it is $0.99 or $99. The market will dictate if it is fair value.