Choosing a price for your ebook can be daunting and isn’t a decision to take lightly because the wrong price strategy could negatively impact book sales and your profits. It’s important to understand some key considerations before settling on a price.
Amazon wants to control costs in the ebook market so it encourages authors and publishers to price Kindle ebooks between $2.99 to $9.99. If you stay within this range, you will earn 70% royalties on each sale (minus a few cents in erroneous download fees). However, if you price your Kindle ebook between $.99 to $2.98 or over $10.00, Amazon will only pay you a 35% royalty. As a result, it’s best to stick within the range of $2.99 to $9.99.
As for choosing your exact price, it depends on several factors. Fiction readers often seek out ebooks with the lowest prices, especially romance and mystery readers who consume far more books than the average reader. But nonfiction readers don’t typically buy books based on price—they buy because they are interested in the subject matter.
According to sales data provided by ebook distributor Smashwords, the sweet spot for full length fiction is usually $2.99 or $3.99. The best price for full length non-fiction is usually $5.99 to $9.99.
Here are some additional factors to consider.
Prescriptive vs. Narrative Nonfiction
Because readers buy how-to type books to learn something new, certain nonfiction book genres can command higher ebook prices of $8.99 to $9.99. These genres include most prescriptive books like business and money, health and wellness, and other how-to type books. Readers views prescriptive nonfiction more like educational tools that meet a need they have.
Narrative nonfiction including memoir and essays are less needs-based, meaning buyers purchase narrative nonfiction because the theme of the book piques their interest, not because they’re aiming to learn a new skill. For an author who isn’t well-known, the price strategy should land somewhere between $5.99 to $7.99.
For example, if you wrote a memoir about your battle to overcome an illness, and there are a dozen or more similar books and they’re all priced between $4.99 to $6.99, you should avoid a price higher than $7.99 because potential readers may ultimately choose a competing book that costs less.
I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing about author platform. And if you don’t yet have a substantial fan base, that’s okay. You can build one. But if you do have a wildly loyal following on Instagram, or tens of thousands of subscribers to your newsletter, or raving YouTube subscribers, that notoriety can allow you to command a higher price than an unknown author.
What is the price point for the top five titles that would compete with yours? You don’t want to price too much higher or lower unless you can justify the difference with a large author platform or substantially more value than the other books offer.
Perception of Value
For serious topics like health books or personal finance, a bargain price might lead the reader to wrongly assume the book’s value will match its low price. In this case, a higher price tells the reader there is much value to be found in the book.
Length of Book
The industry standards for many nonfiction books used to be 60,000 to 80,000 words for prescriptive nonfiction, and over 100,000 for memoir. But shorter books have become increasingly trendy. Just keep in mind if your book is too short and your price is high, reviewers will likely let you know there is a disconnect. If your book is a short read, price it accordingly and mention it in the book description so readers know what to expect.
Good News: Kindle Ebook Price is Adjustable
Amazon won’t let you randomly change the retail price on a print book because the price must match the price embedded in the barcode, which requires a new code on a new book cover. But you can adjust ebook pricing at any time.
This means you could set a lower pricing during the early weeks of your book launch as a way to make it easy for family, friends, and followers to support you, and then raise the price gradually until you find a ceiling. Or, if you find your book isn’t selling well at its current price, try lowering it to see if it sells better.
As you can see, there are no hard rules for ebook pricing, but many factors to consider. We hope this helps you settle on the right price for your Kindle ebook.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love this book: The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan by Nonfiction Authors Association CEO Stephanie Chandler!