How to price your ebook

I was just reading Seth Rakes blog post about ebook pricing here:

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. 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.

  2. 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.


  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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 🙂


  6. 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.

  7. Pingback: How to price your ebook #ebook #writers | Leta Blake

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