By Amy Collins
2018 is underway and ebook sales are growing every month. This fact is what frames this month’s advice in DO THIS NOT THAT.
What He Did
A publisher client of mine priced his new ebook at $9.99 because he believed that a higher-priced ebook would have more cache. He was concerned that a lower-priced ebook would lower the perceived quality of the novel. So he priced his book at the same level that established authors price theirs (even though he was not as well known).
In spite of the fact that his novel is written, edited, and designed at a top-of-the-line level, and in spite of the effective marketing that drove people to view his book, the number of sales were far below expected. Readers did not know the author and were not willing to spent $10 on an unknown quantity. Lots of views… so few sales…
In addition, even BIG name authors and publishers are not seeing enough sales to warrant the higher prices that they are charging. The top publishers are reporting slowing ebook sales over the last 5 quarters. WHY are the top publishers in the American Association of Publishers losing ebook sales? Because they are pricing them FAR above the prices most readers are willing to pay. Fire and Fury, published last week, has a Hardcover available for $18.00 while the ebook is almost $15!
Steven King’s ebook, IT is $11.99 vs. a $12.73 paperback. A $.74 cent difference! NO WONDER THE big publishing houses are seeing a drop in ebook sales! There are no print or distribution costs for ebooks. Raising the prices to such heights is their right, but it is driving ebook readers to books and authors that price their books at a more reasonable level.
According to Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, ebook unit sales spike dramatically when the price points are between $3.99 and $4.99.
What He Did Next
My client signed up for Kindle Unlimited that offered his book to members who pay the monthly fee. His profits immediately went up dramatically! Not all eBooks are losing sales or momentum, they are being read (and paid for) more than ever! What IS changing is WHAT ebooks are selling and how they are being sold. Kindle Unlimited allows subscribers to read ebooks with a monthly fee. Those fees are combined and distributed to the publishers each month, Kindle Unlimited pay outs have been growing each month over the last few years.
These payouts are taking dollars from direct sales and watering down the profits of the ebooks, BUT, KU is also dramatically increasing readership of ebooks. 38% of Amazon’s Kindle books are available on Kindle Unlimited and their membership has grown 68% over the last two years. This program has its pluses and minuses and recently authors have reported that their reader payout reports were suspect. But no one can argue with the facts that Kindle Unlimited is paying a TON of money to a TON of authors.
Then He Did
Finally, the author agreed to lower his book to $1.99 for a two week period and advertised the discount at a number of promotional sites. He sold hundreds of books and had over 10,000 Kindle Unlimited page reads the first few days.
After 2-3 ebook sales a week at $9.99, the book is now selling 30-40 units each week at $4.99. That is BEFORE the promotions and blog tours start next month! The math is easy and the profits are flowing.