Dean Wesley Smith addressed a question that has been on my mind: what effect will the recent settlements regarding agency pricing have on the cost of books? DWS says they're going to go up, perhaps way up.
Pricing for customers of electronic books will go up as this settles out over the next few years. Even with stores discounting some titles, ebook prices really can’t do anything else but go up.Why are book prices going to increase?
... I am being scary simple and general here for the sake of keeping this short and understandable to those who don’t much care.So what should indie writers price their books at? Here's what DWS recommends:
So now the government has come in and said to the big publishers, “No, no, no. You can’t all agree to do this at the same time.” So now the publishers are being forced to back up and allow retailers to discount what they want, as it always should have been.
In response to that, publishers are raising their “suggested retail prices” expecting retail stores to discount. Some retailers will, some will not.
Some books will be discounted, some won’t. And the amount of discounts by the retailers will vary from moment to moment and book to book and agreement to agreement.
All this is going to cause all kinds of very strange price benchmarks for books. Prices like $10.14 or $12.64 for electronic books. It’s going to have readers who are used to set and standard prices shaking their heads, that’s for sure.
And it’s going to make for some interesting shopping for book buyers, who now can shop around for the best deals. Again, as it always should have been in this capitalistic country.
NovelsDean also suggests, and I agree that this makes good sense, publishing a trade paper edition along with your ebook, even if you don't expect to sell many paper books. Why? Because it shows readers how much less expensive the ebook price is and makes them feel like they're getting a deal--which they are!
- Front list, meaning brand new. Over 50,000 words. $7.99
- Shorter front list novels, meaning 30,000 to 50,000 words. $6.99
- Backlist novels, meaning already published by a traditional publisher. $6.99
- Short books, meaning stories from 8,000 words to 30,000 words. $3.99
- Short stories … 4,000 to 8,000 words. $2.99
- Short stories under 4,000 double with another bonus story… $2.99
- 5 stories $4.99
- 10 stories $7.99
You can read the rest of Dean Wesley Smith's article here: The New World of Publishing: Pricing 2013
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Photo credit: See-ming Lee