How to Price an eBook

The publishing industry can be a tough place, and some small presses are transitioning to digital-only releases. Fear not! Data show people are more likely to spend money on an eBook than on print. That might have to do with convenience (you can download it whenever you’d like!), but more likely, it has to do with the price point. On average, eBooks are a lot less expensive than printed books because they don’t have to account for printing costs. That said, you’ll still need to perform some careful calculus before settling on a number. Here’s what you should consider.

 As the author, you will make a royalty on each purchase of your eBook. These royalties are a percentage of the eBook’s retail price, but the percentage will change depending on the online retailer and the list price. Amazon takes some of the lowest royalty percentage payouts (35%), and the Apple iBookstore takes some of the highest (70%). However, these numbers change depending on your price.

Most online retailers will provide higher royalties for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, so that’s a good price range to stay in. The most commonly purchased eBooks range from $2.99 to $3.99, with $3.99 being the most popular. However, you should understand that pricing your eBook higher could mean making more money selling fewer books. Which is more important – getting your books into more hands, or making more money off a few books? It’s not always that simple, but it’s something to consider.

When pricing, you should also consider length and the perceived quality of your book. Readers often expect shorter books to be priced cheaper. With fiction and some creative nonfiction (memoirs and essays, mostly), this means that eBooks shorter than 50,000 words are expected to be priced around or under $2.99. Longer books should almost always be priced higher. To that end, you’ll need to consider pricing psychology. Low-balling your work risks conveying the idea that it is of a lower quality. In almost all cases, we advise against pricing your book at or under $0.99.

As with pricing print books, the press you’re working with will likely weigh in on how much you should cost. As always, you should be prepared to argue for yourself and your work. If your publisher suggests something you dislike, let them know – and use this material to make your case.