There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly.
Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value.
Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.”
Price and value are two different things. From Wikipedia:
Economic value is not the same as market price. If a consumer is willing to buy a good, it implies that the customer places a higher value on the good than the market price.
The price is something we, as self-publishers, attach to the product. The value is the worth the consumer places on it (not the author or publisher). In simple terms, unless your price is lower than the value a reader places on your book, they won’t purchase.
Marketing isn’t simply about reaching consumers but also about convincing them to place a value on the product higher than the price-tag. The higher the price, the harder that job will be.
In other words, it’s a lot easier to sell a book at $2.99 than $9.99.
Doesn’t price influence value?