alisonperryLower pricing definitely doesn’t always mean more sales or borrows is a new thread at Kindle Boards.

“So I dropped the price on my book for the weekend to 99 cents,” writes Alison Perry, the South Carolina-based author of Hell’s Belles. “I also have a promo on Tuesday and (being new) I wasn’t sure how long it would take for the price to update. Well, I went from 3-4 sales and a couple borrows a day to nothing."

Significantly, Kindle Direct Publishing offers 70 percent royalties on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

OK, so what are your current feelings on the pricing issue, for writers in various situations (including those in the Kindle Unlimited lending program)? One size definitely does not fit all.

Let’s hear not just from writers but also from TeleRead community members who are not.

Just remember: The goal here shouldn’t be to drive the usual sales price down to zero. There needs to be a compromise—pricing that respects readers’ budgets but still enables good writers to earn a living.


  1. Thanks, Bob. Actually we see this the same. I think the question of “How many” is key.

    The marketplace, including the library-related parts, should be the determinant. While I said “good writers,” I would have been wise to have said “writers with good enough commercial prospects to attract a fair number of readers.”

    There is also the issue of subsidizing literary writings, where “good” often differs from the same adjective when used in a commercial context.

    My own position is that there is room for some of that—do we want rich people and their foundations to be the only source of grants? But we don’t want to overdo it. We’re the U.S., not the old U.S.S.R.


  2. This has been my experience as an author:
    I write Supernatural Mysteries and Contemporary Romantic Comedies.

    My first book (Mystery) has been priced anywhere from 2.99 to 4.99 (with countdown promos at .99 and free promo). After my initial 90 days out of the gate when I was publicizing it heavily, my sales are fairly unimpressive regardless of the price and my borrows are steady, unless I have a countdown sale and then I see an uptick in my sales during and a day or two after the sale (usually as a result of a higher ranking and showing up on the best-seller list in a subcategory)

    The romance on the other hand…
    I started both my romances out at .99 (as a reward for early adopters). The first book was on discounted for 10 days (over two weekends) and my sales were good. Then they settled in at 2.99. After the initial “new book” sales dropped off (about three weeks for me) my sales were consistent (and about four times more than my mystery). When the second book came out my sales on both books were up again.

    Currently, my sales on my first book are high (higher than they were during my initial release and my .99 sale). I account this to a highly successful Facebook Ad I started two weeks ago. The increased sales led to ranking on the best seller list (which is incredibly hard to do in romance) and that also led to higher sales.

    So, I guess my takeaway from this is that pricing can make a big difference, but exposure and advertising makes a bigger diffrence.

  3. As a reader, I’m delighted when a book goes on sale (just like when any other product is offered for less) but it’s not a requirement and a low price for an unknown books isn’t an enticement to read it. I choose books based on content, not cost. For example, I read a book review on NPR, NYT, or Washington Post, I make a note of it for later. (A few I might buy right away.) If I see it’s on sale – Whohoohoo, I saved a few bucks – but on the other hand I don’t look at the cheap books for something new to read.

  4. As for the actual costs, I’m probably more tolerant of higher prices than others, but here is what I think is fair for the most part;

    New Non-Fiction: $11.99 to $14.99
    New Fiction: $9.99 to $12.99

    Prices should drop a few bucks after a year or so, perhaps a bit more as the books age depending on demand.

    Potboilers and Series: about $7.99, they too should drop a bit after a few years. (Yes, I think books in a series are inherently worth less than other new books.)

    Self-Published: $4.99 or less.

  5. Based on mass market paperback book prices and the consumer price inflation calculator and ebooks should be priced between $3 and $6. Actual mass market paperback distribution was killed in the 90s when the super distributors took over. I used prices from the 1950’s through the 1980’s to do the calculation. This holds pretty close to what I’m actually willing to pay for books as well.

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