Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
In the past four months, however, a new paradigm has emerged: The new price accepted by consumers for an ebook seems to be in the $4.00 to $8.00 range. Here are some thoughts to support this idea:
— Over the past several months and especially over the past two weeks, very few ebooks priced $8.00 to $9.99 have hit the DBW Ebook Best-Seller List. The literal translation of this observation is that readers aren’t buying many books at that price point. It could suggest that there are few popular titles being priced in that range.
— The average price for a best-selling ebook seems to have stabilized around $8.00 (see chart below):
— Out of the six titles on this week’s DBW Ebook Best-Seller list priced above $10, two of them are published by Hachette and Macmillan and the other four are published by Penguin and Random House. All six titles priced $10 and above on the list last week were published by Penguin and Random House. Now that retailers have control over pricing, they’re listening to readers who don’t want to pay more than $10 for the best-selling ebooks they want to buy. When the retailers gain control over pricing for Penguin and Random House, we will likely see fewer ebooks at that price point on the list.
— Self-published authors and small publishers are realizing the value at pricing their titles at $2.99 at the lowest. The $0.99 self-published title at the top of the list this week is more the exception than the rule these days. Nearly half of the titles in the top-25 this week (12) are priced $3 to $8 and only 4 are priced below $3.
When you consider these trends, what do you get? A pricing sweet spot for publishers and readers: About $4 to $8.
And that means, when publishers are considering where they want their books to be when it comes to pricing, our chart should look like this:
What does this mean for publishers, interested in maintaining a certain price for ebooks for the sake of the long-term viability of their businesses — especially their print businesses?
What does it mean for authors who depend on garnering a percentage of each sale for their paycheck?
What does it mean for retailers, that are in constant competition to attract and retain customers, with price being a big consideration?
Time will tell.
All data here is provided by Iobyte Solutions.
* I should say here that if you take a different sample, say, the top-100 best-selling ebooks or the top-five, you will get a different graph than the one I presented below. Further, if you look at ALL ebooks, you’ll get a different graph. I take the top-25 because it’s most of the books that people are buying. If the No. 1 ebook in a given week is selling at $9.99, then that’s what a larger number of consumers are paying for their book than the No. 17 ebook selling at $5.99. Another flaw in this is not weighting each of the positions. It would be better, for instance, to know exactly how many copies of each title are sold, multiply that by the price, add up the final dollar amount for the top-25 and then divide by total number of titles sold. That would give us a better idea of what people are spending overall. For now, what I’ve done above is, I think, the among best we can do when thinking about what the average consumer is paying for an ebook today. I’m happy to hear comments, feedback, etc.!