The Question of Setting Ebook Pricing

eBook pricing how to price an ebook

Since the advent of the ebook, the one facet that has yet to find solid ground is ebook pricing.

There are so many factors at play when it comes to ebook pricing, and a lot of these involve the book buyer’s perception of value.

From free up to $10.00 is the most favoured range of course, but there is an ongoing battle between the major publishers and Amazon, in particular, to establish a $14.99 price point for traditionally published titles.

While all of this is common knowledge, I stumbled across an interesting article on Techcrunch concerning ebook prices, which adds a very surprising element to the perception of value in ebook prices.

In general, ebook buyers in the UK seem to have a totally different value system to buyers in the US.

To put it bluntly, UK ebook buyers love cheap. Look at these two graphs for comparison.

ebook pricing US

ebook pricing UK

Rethink your ebook pricing strategy

These two graphs show clearly that it may be time for authors to do a rethink on how they price their ebooks for each market.

While US ebook buyers appear to accept a wide price range as good buying value, and even increasing substantially at the $10.00 mark, UK ebook buyers do not happily pay more than £0.99.

Perhaps the UK Amazon Kindle Store could be called the ebook dollar shop!

Like most self-published authors I suppose, I have always set my ebook pricing in $US on KDP and then used the automated system on KDP to calculate the rate in the various currencies for each of the international Kindle Stores.

There is a manual override to this system, which might now look like something worth experimenting with. Particularly for the UK market.

The big difference in perceived value on either side of the Atlantic may also explain why my ebook sales have almost always been on a ratio of about 75% US sales as opposed to only 25% UK sales.

Time for some serious price experimentation I think.

Apart from the US and UK difference, changing your ebook price can have surprising results.

I recently changed two of my ebooks from $0.99 up to $2.99, and sales jumped markedly.

Another, I upped from $2.99 to $3.99 and the same jump in sales occurred. Why?

Perceived value.

But now that I look back on the sales for these three ebooks in the last 60 days, the increase in sales was only in the US. So what do I do now?

Lower these three ebooks to £0.99 for the UK? Um, only perhaps.

You might also be interested in how used book pricing works on Amazon. It is quite surprising.


Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

2 thoughts on “The Question of Setting Ebook Pricing

  • June 9, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Prices of eBooks is only part of the problem Derek. As you know, sales of eBooks in the UK are always much less than in the US. Compare the sales of eBooks with paper or hardback in the UK and the eBook loses out every time. Sad to say, but its a fact that my fellow Poms would much rather hold a real book in their hands, written by a ‘known’ traditionally published writer, than read an electronic file, written by someone who is not, and probably never will be, a household name…

    • January 9, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      The current value of the pound is $1.45, which shifts the British graph to somewhat higher values [shifts it to the right] if the horizontal axis is corrected to dollars. Also, countries with smaller media incomes will likely be even more price sensitive.


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