Analyzing the Behavior of Book Buyers Pt 5 – Price

See Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this series.

If a browser reads your sample and likes it, he’s going to buy it, right?  Nope.  You still have one big hurdle to clear — price.  A few thoughts on the subject:

  • Price isn’t necessarily the last thing the browser considers.  It’s a factor that can lose you the sale at any point during the process.  It might even be the first thing the potential buyer examines.
  • Sometimes, setting price is about maximizing profit.  Selling fewer books at a higher margin may bring you more money than selling a lot at a smaller margin.
  • Sometimes, setting price is about exposure.  In the long run, getting a sample of your work into the hands of as many people as possible may outweigh short term profit.
  • A price point that is too low may indicate to the potential customer that your work is substandard.
  • A price point that is too high may provide the potential customer with too little value.
  • It used to be that setting a price of $.99 drove lots of sales.  Changes in the way that Amazon calculates category rankings and a certain stigma attached to low-priced ebooks may have eliminated the advantages of this price point.

Since I discovered indie authors, my behavior towards book buying has changed:

  • Unless the book is part of a series that I absolutely love, like the upcoming A Memory of Light or the latest in John Ringo’s Troy Rising series, I’m going to wait for the price to fall.  I’m not going to pay $12.99 even for Brent Weeks’ latest book.  I simply do not think I’ll enjoy it four times more than a recommended indie authors’ work.
  • I can live with $7.99 for an established author or the continuation of a series that I’m reading.  Even with a strong recommendation, I’m not going to pay that much to try someone new.  Case in point – Terry Ervin recommended Angie Lofthouse’s Defenders of the Covenant, but it’s priced at $7.99.  If the price drops, I’ll buy it, but I’m simply not willing to pay that much at the moment for someone I’ve never read.
  • If a book even halfway sounds interesting, I won’t blink at paying $2.99.

My main takeaway from analyzing pricing is that an author should experiment.  It’s so easy to change your price and see what happens.  If you’re doing well at $2.99, does $3.99 hurt your bottom line?  If not, increase it another dollar.  If so, drop it back down.

Please feel free to share your experiences as either a buyer or a seller in the comments section.  Look for the final part of this series summarizing my analysis next Monday.

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2 thoughts on “Analyzing the Behavior of Book Buyers Pt 5 – Price

  1. Pingback: How to Become a Successful Author | brianwfoster.com

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