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How to Price an eBook: A 10-Step Checklist for Pricing Your eBook

By:
Shaun Connell
 Updated
May 5, 2023

Writing an eBook can be an excellent way to grow your audience, boost your visibility as a writer, and make some money. Of course, one of the biggest questions that eBook writers face is how much they should charge for their work.

This can be a very tricky question-- if you charge too much, you won't sell nearly as many copies. If you charge too little, though, you could be leaving money on the table and even make your work appear to be less valuable than it is.
Solution In this article, we'll look at how to price an eBook using a ten-step checklist.
Using our checklist, you can work to calculate the proper price for your particular eBook to ensure that you meet your stated goals, earn as much money as possible, and grow your audience.

How to Price an eB00k

Pricing an eBook is both an art and a science. You'll need to consider a number of different factors, including the genre, royalty percentages, length, target audience, and more.

Let's take a look at ten steps you should take when determining the right price for your eBook.

1. Research eBook Prices in Your Genre

One of the first things you can do when you're trying to decide how to price your eBook is to take a look at similar books in the same genre.

  • In general, the most frequently purchased ebooks range in price from $2.99 to $3.99. On Amazon, most Kindle ebooks are priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

Taking a look at what other authors in your genre are charging will help you get a sense of the range of prices audiences are willing to pay for a book like yours.

woman reading ebook she bought at fair price

Is your book a romance novel? A self-help text? A day-trader manual?

You'll find that different prices are typical in every genre, and you won't want to stray terribly far from the norm unless you have a specific goal that encourages you to do otherwise (for example, you might choose to price lower than your competitors to help you break into the genre.)

2. Incorporate the Length

Book prices reflect the genre and the perceived quality of a book, but they also have to do with how long a book is. Readers typically expect that books of a shorter length won't be as expensive as longer texts.

  • Fiction and some types of creative non-fiction books that are shorter than 50,000 words are usually expected to cost less than $2.99.

When your book is on the shorter side, it should typically be cheaper if it is a fiction or creative non-fiction book. Examples of creative non-fiction that would fit into this category include personal essays and memoirs.

The length of a book isn't quite as important for nonfiction books, particularly business texts and self-help books. The reason for this is that people are buying the value of the content without as much concern for how long the book is. People will be happy to pay a higher price for a book they believe will help them vastly improve their life or increase their wealth, for example, regardless of its length.

Longer fiction and creative non-fiction books can fetch a higher price than shorter books, but you still want to keep the price reasonable for your general audience.

3. Consider Your Goals

Now that you have surveyed the landscape a bit and discovered the typical pricing for a book of your type, genre, and length, it's time to think about what you're trying to get out of publishing this ebook.

ebook reader displaying ebook purchased online

Is your goal to sell as many books as possible? Maybe you are primarily viewing this as a way to earn passive income, and making the largest possible amount of money is the goal. Or, perhaps, you're publishing an ebook to offer value to your existing audience and help spread the word about other services or products you offer.

4. Determine Where You Plan to Distribute

Ebook authors have lots of options when it comes to where they can publish their ebooks. Some choose to sell their books on their own website only, while others might use platforms like Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and more.

Before you publish your ebook, don't forget to make sure it's 100% ready for "print." Editing your ebooks can be well-worth the expense-- check out this post about how to find the best book editor.

Where you distribute will impact how you price your ebook, as we'll discuss in the next section. Places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are going to charge fees in the form of a percentage of each book sold, so you'll need to factor that in when setting your price.

5. Check the Pricing Tips of Your Distribution Platform

One of the most popular places to sell ebooks is Amazon, and they release data about ebook pricing that you can use to determine the right price for your book.

  • They say that their bestselling e-books are priced between $3 and $7 and use their data to prove that pricing your book at a higher price doesn't actually imply that you'll make more money.

According to their data, an ebook priced at $14.99 that makes $100,000 over a set period of time actually would make the author $79,000 fewer dollars than if they had priced it at $9.99.

Whether you're using Amazon or one of the other countless platforms you can use to publish eBooks, familiarizing yourself with their pricing tips can help you boost your sales.

Is there a "right" way to self-publish your book on Amazon? Check out our guide to Amazon self-publishing.

6. Consider the Value You're Offering

You can charge a higher price for your ebook if it teaches your audience to do something that could help them produce tons of value. For example, maybe you are selling an ebook that is filled with decades of knowledge about making money on the stock market. If your readers know that they will be able to invest in your book and receive a highly favorable return on investment, they'll be much more likely to shell out more money.

At the same time, though, there are lots of books out there about making money with the stock market. If you can't convince your audience that you are offering something truly unique and rare that they can't find anywhere else, you won't have much luck charging a higher price.

  • You will know if you really are selling something that is rare if it's very difficult to compare the price because there really aren't similar ebooks for sale.

7. Experiment With Different Prices

When choosing an ebook price, it's important to remember that the price you choose isn't set in stone. In fact, you can run deliberate experiments to try and see which price helps you achieve your desired goal.

You might choose to start with a price at the beginning of a month and watch its performance over the course of the next thirty. You can run this experiment a few months in a row and compare the results.

Most authors find that there is a "sweet spot" for their books, a price that is low enough for them to sell at volume while high enough to ensure they aren't leaving money on the table.

8. Leave Room to Offer Deals

It can be tempting to price your ebook incredibly low when you first start selling it. While this can be a good way to entice people into buying your book, it also doesn't leave you very much room to offer specials and sales.

Offering limited-time sales can be a great way to see a bump in your numbers. For this reason, it can be a good strategy to have a set "list" price that you occasionally mark down on sale.

Are you new to writing? Make sure you check out our posts about choosing the best author style, content mills, finding entry-level writing jobs, and building a portfolio.

9. Think About Add-Ons

Throwing in some extra materials to your ebook is one way you can increase its perceived value.

You might choose to include the following:

  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Cheat sheets
  • Video walkthroughs
  • Live streams

This might not always be appropriate for all genres and types of books, but if you are writing a how-to book or another informational text, this can justify a higher price.

10. Understand the Difference Between the Price and Your Royalties

At this point, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want to charge for your ebook. Before you run off and set your price, you'll also want to think about the percentage that will be taken from the platform you use to sell your book.

Of course, one of the benefits of selling your book on your own website is that you get to keep all of the profit it generates. If you already have a decent-sized following, you might find this is the best route for you.

  • Stores like Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble, though, can be well worth the trouble if you don't receive much traffic to your site.

When you sell your book through one of these retailers, they will take a portion of your sales. Each of them has its own royalty rate, which is the percentage that the author receives for each copy sold based on the price you choose.

Ebook Pricing FAQ

Before we sign off, let's answer some of the most commonly asked questions about eBook pricing.

How Does the Genre of My Ebook Affect Its Pricing?

The genre of your book will have a big impact on how you want to set your price.

A great example of this is the romance genre. There are tons of romance books available as eBooks, and it's fairly normal for these books to be free or $0.99 a pop. The romance genre is highly competitive, and one tactic that authors use is to write a series where the first book is free while subsequent books are $0.99, $1.99, or $2.99.

However, pricing this low in other genres can actually signal to your audience that the quality of your book is low. Additionally, going above a certain price bracket can lower the royalty rate you receive for your eBook, so you'll want to consider this when going above $9.99 or so.

How Does the Length of My Ebook Affect Its Pricing?

The length of an eBook will be reflected in the price in many cases, particularly for fiction and creative nonfiction books.

How the length of your eBook should impact the price will depend on the genre of book and the value your book offers.

Short eBooks are generally considered those that have an average of 5,000 words. This can be a good length if you are offering a free eBook to your audience and trying to spread the word about your other services and products.

Medium-length eBooks are typically between 5,000 and 20,000 words, but this can vary quite a bit depending on the type of book. For example, children's books are almost always shorter than books for adults, meaning that a middle-range kid's book can be quite a bit shorter than the stated word count range above.

Finally, longer eBooks can range from 20,000 to 95,000 words. Though you can generally charge more for longer fiction and creative nonfiction books, you'll want to keep an eye on the price point that your royalty rates drop depending on your distribution platform.

How Does the Target Audience of My Ebook Affect Its Pricing?

You will definitely want to take your target audience into account when setting the price of your eBook. For example, if you are writing finance books for individuals that will use your information to earn more money, you can charge quite a bit more than if you're writing romance novels for people that are just reading for entertainment.

Similarly, you'll want to think about the income and buying habits of your target audience. If the people that are most likely to read your book tend to have a low income and don't splurge on purchases, you'll want to keep your price on the lower end.

On the other hand, if your book is tailored to high-earners that are willing to invest in things they believe will benefit them personally or financially, you can likely charge a proportionally higher price.

How Can I Use Pricing to Create a Sense of Urgency Among Potential Buyers?

You can help create a sense of urgency by offering discounts to your audience. You can do this by putting on flash sales, seasonal promotions, or offering exclusive discounts to your most loyal subscribers.

Want to get your name in front of a larger audience to help boost your eBook sales while also earning some extra cash? Check out this list of more than 21 publications that pay more than $500 for articles.

How Does the Type of Distribution Platform Affect the Pricing of My Ebook?

Different distribution platforms will offer different royalty rates, and you'll want to take this into account when pricing your book. If you fail to incorporate this into your decision, you could end up taking home less than you expected.

Let's look at some of the eBook sellers to help you see how wide the range of royalty rates can be.

In the $0.99 to $2.98 range, here are the royalties that authors receive from the list price of the book:

  • Amazon: 35%
  • BN.com: 40%
  • Apple iBookstore: 70%

For books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, authors take home the following percentages of the list price:

  • Amazon: 70%
  • BN.com: 65%
  • Apple iBookstore: 70%

Finally, more expensive books that are listed between $10 and $199.99 fetch the following royalty rates:

  • Amazon: 35%
  • BN.com: 40%
  • Apple iBookstore: 70%

Ready to Start Earning an Income From Your Writing?

Writing and publishing an eBook can be an awesome way to make some passive income. In some cases, you might even be able to turn writing eBooks into your full-time job.

Many freelance writers, however, like to incorporate some variety into the type of writing that they do. You might find that you appreciate having the opportunity to write eBooks, articles, blogs, essays, poetry, case studies, white papers, and more, all while earning great rates.

If you're looking to start making money with your writing right away, one of the best strategies is to use one of the online job boards to find clients that pay top dollar.

Are you searching for the best place to find high-paying online writing jobs? If so, make sure you check out our Freelance Writing Jobs board, where there are fresh postings every day for a wide variety of writing jobs. Whether you're looking for a one-off gig or building some ongoing relationships with clients, there's something for everyone on our jobs board.

Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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