Self-publishing authors should grab this opportunity.
The five major publishers, including Hachette, Penguin/Random House, Macmillan, and Simon and Schuster, have all renegotiated their agreements with online retailers, and can all now dictate the price of their ebooks.
No longer can retailers discount their ebooks to gain market advantage.
The average ebook price has changed
It means that the retail and distribution ebook wars and legal battles are over, and now the major publishers are setting their ebook prices in concrete.
But boy, have they declared a new war. A war on ebooks. And not on other ebooks, but on their own books. It is a strange ebook pricing strategy.
When you look at many new titles from traditional publishers, it’s pretty clear that they do not want to sell ebooks. Take this one book, for example.
Would you buy the Kindle ebook version for $16.79 or the hardcover at $17.99?
If you buy and read the hardcover version, you can give it to a friend or sell it for a buck to a second-hand bookstore.
Take a moment and have a little think here. Which version does the publisher want you to buy?
Do you want an exploitation of Stieg Larsson? Let’s grab this bargain ebook by David Lagercrantz?
Once again, you can save a whole dollar if you buy the Kindle version over the hardcover.
I could post hundreds of ebooks from the Big Five like this, but let’s look at why this gives self-publishing authors a fantastic opportunity.
What does it mean for self-published ebooks?
When I look at the top ten bestselling Kindle ebooks, there are two ebooks defying price logic and appear here, but the rest are priced at between $1.11 and $6.99.
If you dig deeper down to the top 100 ebooks, you will find that ebooks priced between $2.99 and $4.99 dominate. Of course, a large proportion of these en^books on Kindle stores are by self-published authors.
The change in ebook pricing by traditional publishers is an opportunity for self-publishing authors to take the ebook market for their own.
You really have to think that the traditional publishers don’t want it.
Readers aren’t stupid and know what they are buying. They are also smart enough to know when they are being taken for a ride.
Although I have been pessimistic about the state of self-publishing at the moment and wrote about this recently in my Train Wreck post, this is a chance for self-publishing authors to chisel out a part of the publishing market for themselves.
If the big publishing companies are thumbing their noses at the ebook market, you should grab it.
But it will take work. Self-published books, in general, still have some way to go in providing a quality product. While many self-published authors have made huge strides regarding quality, there is still a lot of junk being published.
However, for those who are writing great stories, the ‘kill the ebook’ pricing from the Big Five publishers gives a chance for you to create a price and quality differential.
While books priced at $2.99 to $4.99 have been the mean self-publishing price range, why not increase your prices a little and sit between the Big Five and the dross.
There now seems to be a price point of between $5.99 to $7.99 that could be competitive for quality self-publishing authors.
Is this a gap in the market that you could try to make your own?
If you are publishing in paperback as well, which is always a good idea if only for credibility, why not open the price between your ebook and paperback book by a few dollars to give better-perceived value to your ebook?
Time will tell, of course, if this proves to be a golden opportunity for self-publishing authors.
However, ebook publishing is still so young that this time truism may not have had long enough yet to be true.
What do you think?