There is no shortage of opinion on ebook pricing—but if you publish academic, professional or technical material, then you will know that useful guidance is much harder to come by. Yet pricing is often the first issue raised by new clients of our ebook distribution service—even those with well-established digital publishing programs. So to help out, here’s some advice to help anyone thinking about their ebook pricing strategies.
1. Understand Your Costs
Before you can set prices, you need to understand costs. Received wisdom tells us that the cost of an ebook “unit” should be lower than its print equivalent. Especially as production techniques evolve, retrospective conversion diminishes, and print runs shorten or disappear altogether in favor of print on demand, which is more expensive at the per-unit level than large print runs.
But what is the true cost of a unit? There is a tendency to simply compare file creation with printing, ignoring other pre-production overheads. If all costs are allocated equally across all formats, and digital sales only account for 5 or 10 percent of the total, then the unit cost of an ebook looks less healthy.
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A Rough Six Months for Big Book Publishers (PW)
The trade publishing segment has been operating in a low-growth environment for several years, and that trend appears to have continued into 2016. Financial reports for the first half of 2016 from five major publishers showed that none of the companies had a sales increase in the first half of the year; HarperCollins had the best top-line performance, with only a minor sales decline compared to the first six months of 2015.
5 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid When Publishing Your First Book (BookWorks)
While it appears that I prepared for my launch, like many authors I was focused on writing my book. Here’s a summary of five things I did wrong.
Authoring an Audience (Bookseller)
Now the advice I give to authors is to put their novel on hold and focus on short stories, performing and social media because without even the bare minimum of an audience (or even good friends) their book won’t get picked up, and certainly won’t sell.
Lucrative Book Deals Might Finance the Obamas’ Post-White House (NY Times)
After he is out of the White House, President Obama has said that he wants to become a venture capitalist, own part of an N.B.A. franchise and avoid taking off his shoes during security screenings at commercial airports. All of those goals, serious or not, might soon be achievable if Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, sign post-presidency book contracts for what literary agents and major publishers say could amount to $20 million to $45 million.
Local Indie Bookstores Not Happy About Amazon’s Chicago Store (Time Out)
The announcement that Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortar store in Lakeview ruffled more than a few feathers. Chief among the cries of dissent were those who represent the city’s small but thriving community of independent bookstores—and with good reason.
Startup BookBites Tracks Children’s Reading Progress (Pub Perspectives)
A platform on which children’s can borrow and read ebooks, BookBites integrates visual elements and tracking tools to encourage reading and book discovery.
Rodale to Launch a Kids Imprint Next Spring (PW)
Rodale Books has announced plans to launch Rodale Kids, a new imprint that will publish a variety of fiction and nonfiction titles geared to infants, children, and teens. The new imprint will release its first 10 titles in spring 2017, with plans to eventually publish 30–45 titles per year. The books will be distributed by Macmillan, Rodale’s longtime distribution partner.