Writing Done Right
Pricing a Book
Summary: This presentation presents ideas to determine the pricing of your book.

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Pricing your books does not need to be complicated. These tips will help you narrow in on the best price for your print book, eBook, or Audiobook.

Pricing your book is best done early in the production process because your back cover design should include the price, both in the ISBN / EAN5 and printed on the cover. The ISBN is, of course the 13-digit number that uniquely identifies your book. The EAN5 number is the smaller bar code next to the ISBN. This code contains the pricing information and is required for retail stores to list your book in their inventory. We will discuss bar codes in more detail a future article.

When considering your price, you need three targets in mind, and each have their own pricing strategies.

Print Books

In pricing your print books, use the Goldilocks Principle, in other words, just right. If you price your book too cheaply, your audience may think it is not a good book due to the cost. But likewise, if it is too expensive, it will be a deterrent to buying your book when competing books are similar and priced similar to one another, but lower than yours. You should target the price based on your direct competition both in genre and size. Once I know the approximate page count (something you need to figure out to make your book cover), I like to take a trip to the bookstore to look at the prices and choose the very middle price I find on the shelf.


eBooks are more flexible in pricing than print books, mostly because the markets ebb and flow with sales and deals. Still, find a good retail price for your eBook that is similar to book size and genre. Again in this book format, non-fiction are priced higher than fiction, but the ease of sales and promotions causes constant flux in your pricing strategy.

The second factor in eBook pricing is distribution. Some distribution networks like Ingram do not allow for easy promotions. While your book prices can change, it takes a while for any pricing to roll out to all the bookstores, but on Amazon KDP, you can change the prices in less than 5 hour turnaround most of the time. Also, if you distribute exclusive through KDP Select, you can price the book as low as $0.99 and still receive the 70% royalty on the sale, but if you are not going exclusive, you will not be able to drop the price below $2.99 and keep 70%. While $0.99 or even $2.99 is not good for a standard retail price of most books, it is a great option for sales.


With Audiobooks, depending on where you are selling them, you may not even have an option to set price! If you are distributing exclusively through ACX to get your book on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes, they will price your book for you. Findaway Voices, another audiobook multi listing service, allows you to set your prices, and they will give you a basic guide on choosing your price. Audiobooks are more often priced based on length and less often priced on genre.