I was just reading Seth Rakes blog post about ebook pricing here: http://sethrakes.com/indie-e-book-pricing/

And I wondered if I could come up with a mathematical formula for how to price your ebook. So here it is:

Start off with \$1 as your price.

Choose one of the following, based on your book length:

–          Less than 50,000 words, multiply by 1;

–          More than 50,000 words, multiply by 3.

Choose one of the following, based on your fame:

–          No-one knows me, or I have a tight knit group of fans, multiply by 1;

–          Thousands of people buy my books, multiply by 2;

–          I’m a household name, multiply by 3.

Choose one of the following, based on your quality:

–          I know my book has typos, but it’s the story that matter, multiply by 0.5;

–          I’ve gone through more rounds of editing than I can count, multiply by 1;

–          My book has been professionally edited multiple times, multiply by 1.5.

So, for example, for a novella, with a small group of fans and many, many rounds of editing:

\$1 * 1 * 1* 1 = \$1 /0.99c

For a novel by Brandon Sanderson:

\$1 * 3 * 2 * 1.5 = \$9

For a novel by JK Rowling:

\$1 * 3 * 3 * 1.5 = \$13.50

WARNING: I’m not a pricing expert. I know very little and guess a lot.

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29 thoughts on “How to price your ebook”

1. Reblogged this on mishaburnett and commented:
For a thumbnail analysis, this is a pretty good formula.

2. Interesting theory; the results roughly match the prices of the ebooks I have purchased in the last quarter (discounting promotions).

Do you have any thoughts on non-US markets? I would be tempted to start with £1.00 (&c.), but I could see arguments for currency exchanging from dollars.

• That’s a good point. I think that you could use some kind of index, like the cost of a loaf of bread, to adjust for countries. Personally, I price countries based on my (probably incorrect) assumption of wealth and nearest round figures. For instance, if a book is 99c in the US, I’ll price it 99p in the UK, but 49 rupees in India. So, the UK is getting a slightly worse deal than the US, and India is getting the best deal of all.

• From about 5 seconds of research, using the price of bread, the UK should be cheaper than the US, not more expensive.

Loaf of bread in UK: \$1.21
Loaf of bread in US: \$1.59
Loaf of bread in India: \$0.40
Loaf of bread in Norway: \$3.86

Nice to live in the most expensive country in the world 🙂

• Single commodity indexing is tempting; however, I see a risk that the commodity is not of equal value in each country. For example, is the price of a loaf affected by the number of households who bake their own? By the number of households that culturally eat something instead of bread? Or buy sandwiches pre-made?

Of course, once you get into the quest for a more accurate base unit, you encounter the lack of granularity in the later steps.

• Exactly, it’s a big can of mess, so I prefer not to open it 🙂

I just stick my finger in the air and approximate whether a country is wealthy or not. My US sales are 90% of my sales anyway, so it’s not really an issue yet.

3. Sounds good to me. I have nowhere to go but up from here! You have to start somewhere.

4. So for my two novels currently on Amazon, it would be–

More than 50,000 words/No one knows me/I’ve edited these puppies more time than I can count (in fact, I’m doing it again at this moment)–

\$1 x 3 x 1 x 1 = \$3.00.

Hmm– my books are currently priced at \$2.99. Close enough for government work.

Thanks.

• No probs, Doug. Glad it worked 🙂

5. Love this post! Mostly because I priced out my own book, and I’m pretty much on the mark. Well, except for the editing part, because I’ve actually had several professionals edit it … so technically I should be selling my book for \$4.50. Still, I’m cool with my \$2.99 pricetag 🙂 Very cool formula! Thanks for sharing!

• No problem, Michelle. Glad you like it. I reckon you could try \$3.99, but that might just be me 🙂

6. This is a really interesting approach to pricing, and not one I’ve seen. It makes a lot of sense though. *hopefully* I will be needing it in the future. Thanks!

• No problem, Aussa. Glad you like it 🙂

7. It never stops amazing me how simple math can make life 🙂

Thanks for sharing.

8. Interesting. Math hurts my brain so I’ll leave these discussions up to you.
I priced my first poetry anthology with 3700 words at \$3.99
I figured it was cheaper than a Starbuck’s coffee so that’s reasonable 😉

• Hi Jennifer,
It depends really on genre, but in my experience, readers value poetry and prose lower than the writers do. The good thing about self-publishing is the pricing is up to you, though 🙂

-Simon.

• For sure and it is changeable if it doesn’t seem to sell well.
Take care, great post by the way!

9. Interesting. I’m about to publish a 13,000 word short story, and no one knows me, and it was professionally edited, but just once. 1X1X1 or maybe 1X1X1.5 ??? 1\$ or 1.50\$ ? Guess that means \$0.99 makes the most sense.

• Personally, I’m pricing everything at 99 cents if it’s not a novel. That’s a huge range of stuff, but it’s the best price to get new readers, in my opinion. (Other than free)

• I agree. Though I really want to charge \$14.99. I really want to be JK Rowling. 🙂

• I think we all want to be JK Rowling. In talent and reach.

10. I mostly agree with this, partly because it is less based on word count than Seth’s. Nice work. 🙂

• Thanks, Eric. Glad you like it 🙂