How Publishers Can Develop Better Ebook Pricing

ebooks, ebook pricing, publishers, metadataThere 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.

Much more.

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