When publishing a book, one of the big questions you have to ask yourself is: how much am I going to charge for it? And in an era where you will have two versions, a physical paper version and an electronic e-reading version, of which the latter is probably the most important product, this is actually quite a hard question. A lot of it comes down to the psychology of pricing.
For the new Game Night, and if Pigs Could Fly when it comes out, I’ve gone for a fairly simple policy.
Paperback (trade): $9.99 US / £6.99 UK
Ebook (Kindle + others): $2.99 US / £1.99 UK
I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t mention that those two ebook prices are the minimum price points at which Amazon will pay you a 70% royalty; anything below that pays 35%. That fact did help me pick the actual price points. But I genuinely feel that those prices are a fair price for a novel, with the Ebook prices especially hitting that point where I feel I’m getting a reasonable price for the work while the reader/purchaser feels that they’re paying a reasonable price for what is, at the end of the day, nothing more than a digital file.
Obviously, other people will come to other conclusions. It’s a confusing market. But then you see something like this:
I’m sorry, but that’s just insane. Asking someone to pay £8.54 for the Kindle version might be reasonable if: a) the book has just come out and the only other, physical, version is say a hardback priced at £18.99, or; b) this is a very expensive textbook with the physical version being much more expensive.
But when it’s a book that launched more than three years ago, and the paperback version is barely fifty pence more, that makes no sense at all. In the US, this book is even more incoherently priced: you can buy the paperback new for $9.22 while the Kindle version will set you back $13.31.
What I think happened is that they originally launched a hardback version (there’s one now, priced at £12.95) and a Kindle version, setting the Kindle version to complement the hardback price. And then, when they launched the paperback version, they just, plain, damn… forgot to reduce the price of the Kindle version. Which in the Kindle era, in my opinion, qualifies as incompetence of the highest order.
It’s the poor author I feel sorry for.