A book pricing experiment

I’m trying a new approach to selling my books.  At their former price level ($3.99 to $4.99 per book), sales had been slowing, largely due to the impact of the Kindle Unlimited subscription library on book sales (which has been substantial, as I reported during the launch of my latest trilogy earlier this year).

I’ve accordingly reduced the prices of all my science fiction and fantasy novels to $2.99 per volume.  This means less money for me, of course, but I hope it’ll encourage more sales, so that I make up in volume what I lose on individual profit.  I’m trying to balance my book prices with the current state of the market.  I’ll let you know how that works.  (My Westerns haven’t dropped in price yet;  that’ll take another month or two to arrange.  Watch this space!)

Please pass the word, and this link, to any of your friends who might want reading bargains.  Every sale helps!




  1. Let us know how it goes. I'll be watching with keen interest, because I have been considering a move in the other direction — raising prices from $2.99 to $3.99!

  2. I bought everything that I didn't have except the westerns, not my interest. I consume a lot of books and price is important.

  3. You might want to try something that Chris Nuttall did to increase sales: He set the price of the first books of his many potboiler SF/Fantasy series to $0.00.

    He stated in his blog that this caused all of his old series' to increase sales.

  4. Good luck. The price difference doesn't matter if it's an author I know I like, but if I'm debating trying a new series it's more complicated. On the one hand I like being able to save a couple bucks on a maybe but on the other hand I like when authors have the confidence to price a little higher and I'm hoping I'll get what I pay for. So far I generally have.

  5. Perhaps try increasing the price on some of your books as well. It's possible that a higher price could increase sales as well as profit per unit.

  6. I'll second the motion on "price is important." I'm a great deal more inclined to purchase a Kindle book at $1.99-$2.99 – especially if it's part of a series I might get hooked on – than $3.99-$4.99. I'm an unreformed (and unreformable) Readaholic and drag a Kindle everywhere. I also copy some ebooks (of all formats) to the phone temporarily because, sometimes, I'm Kindleless but never phoneless.

    Many is the time I've bought a writer's books, sometimes an entire series, at $1.99 per when I would not have considered doing so at a higher price. I also peruse the free Kindle offerings from time to time; I won't download dreck, even free dreck, because my time is to valuable to waste on it, but I've found some pretty good books among the "lesser offerings" and that's led to buying authors I wouldn't have otherwise considered, or even known about.

    I know how Kindle offerings are compensated, and am aware that a number of people whose only skill is knowing how to operate a keyboard have made good money at it. Quite a few Japanese have made automotive fortunes following the concept of achieving broad and deep market penetration via pricing.

  7. I too wait with bated breath to see the outcome. I, like Margaret, would tend to price higher because it seems to work for DWS and KKR.

  8. another thing to consider is selling the books in sets at a slight discount from purchasing them separately

    first book cheap or free is good, and then once the reader is hooked, make it easy for them to get the rest of the series

    David Lang

  9. I rarely buy a book, I'm using Kindle Unlimited almost exclusively. I miss some authors I have read for years that haven't released books to KU but my budget doesn't extend to many purchases.

    I do work with several older folks that do buy books but are on limited budgets too. What I train them to do is go to the Kindle store and sort by price, then buy everything that looks remotely interesting until they are fed up buying books. That gets them form 20 to 100 books on their Kindle to read for free.

    I tell them that if they like a story enough, to page through to the Amazon page following the book and purchase the next in the series as well as following the author there. They find a fair number of books they like well enough to follow up on. Once they see the next title the price is important, a buck price reduction, getting under $4.00 (the used paperback price) is likely to sell a lot more series books on Kindle.

    I don't know how much it would hurt to make the first book in a series free but if it isn't selling well it might be worth the risk to see if you get any bites and if they follow on.

    The old, cheap geezer market is expanding as more of us get tablets as gifts and discover the zoom option in Kindle and that we can read books again without a magnifying glass. Even the folks that can still read with glasses are finding the electronic big print option attractive.

  10. Mr. Grant good luck and please do what works out best for you. Pretty much I treat paperback prices (5.99-8.99) as noise in my cash usage so 1.99 or 5.99 if it's got your name on it it's going on my kindle to read on the train as it's less than a paperback, and I have fair assurance it'll be a decent read. I do have to Say Mr. Nutall's trick (like that of a thionite drug dealer) of giving the first taste free also works :-).

  11. Hi Peter,

    Long time reader of both the blog – thanks! – and your books. For background purposes of this discussion, decades of experience in both the media industry and with startups. Having read your thoughts, Sara's and Vox's on this, I wonder if anyone is looking at vertical sales strategies (sell more stuff to existing customers) since these discussions as far as I can see are entirely centered on horizontal sales (sell the same stuff to more people). A healthy business needs both.

    Don't know if you can see purchases by user, but one thing I've noticed is that KU discussions seem to center around revenue per sale, rather than per user. I find that I binge on KU the way I do on Netflix, and that I don't with regular ebooks or print. That is, if an author's first book that I read is adequate, I'll read everything they wrote rather than bother to pick something different. For example, last Friday I read the first Crimson World book, and by the time the weekend was over I had read 13 of them. Even if the 2nd book is $2.99 I have to decide whether it is worth it rather than just reading one of the dozens sitting in queue already. With KU there's no opportunity cost for the author; I'll read their entire series, and if they have other series I'll check them out. I know an example isn't data, but I think its probably the best play for mid-list authors with an extensive back-list. I'll always buy the next Larry Correia, and I have my favs who are not best sellers whom I'll also buy, but, alas, the average mid-list author is just that – average. And I have piles of average work sitting around waiting for me to read it.

    Just my two cents.


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