Determining how to price your book is a huge factor in the selling process. Price too high, and you’ll have little to no market for your book. Price too low, and you won’t make a profit. When you’re looking to set your book's retail price, you need to be realistic. No matter how good the book is, readers don’t make their book buying decisions based solely off content; price is always an important consideration of the buying process. Because of this, determining how to price your book is a very important step in the publishing process.
When choosing how to price your book, there are many factors to consider. Most obviously, you need to consider printing costs and the price you need to be above in order to make a profit. However, there is another equally important consideration. One of the most important factors in setting a retail price is competition. Will the price of your book allow you to compete with similar books?
In order to answer this question, you need to conduct some research. Browse a popular retailer to find books with similar target audiences, page counts, genre and cover design. Notice how these books are priced, and then think about how to price your book so it will be in line with these titles.
For fiction books, page count is one of your more important considerations. Typically, the longer the book, the more you can safely charge. If you charge an exorbitant price for a short book, your customers may not see the value in it. For nonfiction books, the more research, endnotes, charts, and other “extras,” the higher you can price your work. Like fiction titles, page count can also be a contributing factor when determining how to price your nonfiction book.
Other things to consider when you are thinking of how to price your book include the books format (hardcover vs. softcover), the book's interior (black and white vs. full color) and the book specs (trim size, paper weight, etc.). Hardcover books are most often priced higher than their softcover counterparts. Similarly, books with full-color interiors are much more expensive to print and therefore tend to have higher retail prices. If your book has special touches such as heavier paper weight, a large trim size or special binding, you can often price your book at a slightly higher retail price.
For eBooks, the price should be significantly lower than a print book. Unless you are selling through iBooks, your eBook cannot be priced at $0.00 as each retailer charges a fee for the download of an eBook file, so each eBook has to be priced at at least $0.99. Some retailers will pay you higher royalties if your eBook is priced within a certain range. Just like with print books, with eBooks you will want to research your competition and see how other eBooks in your genre are priced.
At Mill City Press, we suggest a retail price for our customers based on our own research and experience. However, when choosing how to price your book, the ultimate decision is always yours. Do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision!
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