Pricing in an Ebook age

I read an article from Digital Book World this morning about recent price reductions in Harper Collins ebooks and the seemingly little effect it had on sales. Thanks to the Department of Justice ruling (United States), Amazon and other ebook sellers were able to discount ebook prices. The article by Jeremy Greenfield had this interesting quote:

If an ebook’s price is lowered from $10 to $8, for example, it needs to sell about 25% more copies to maintain the same level of revenue. I didn’t observe any sales rank bumps that would indicate a 25% bump in sales.

My conclusion from the article is that it doesn’t appear price is a major factor in a buyer’s decision. Of course, there will always be readers that will gravitate towards the free ebooks. But a two dollar difference in an ebook doesn’t seem to encourage or discourage sales.

So the question I have is this: Why discount ebooks if you are not going to make up the amount in increased sales?

Are we witnessing a paradigm shift in book discounting?

Author: Kevin Spear

I am a marketing professional with a design flair, based in Clayton, Ohio. I specialize in digital and content marketing that increases brand awareness for small businesses and nonprofits.

2 thoughts on “Pricing in an Ebook age”

  1. Do you think it’s possible that buyers aren’t swayed by a $2 drop from $10 to $8 because both are seen to be “too high”? I wonder if the price of apps, free stuff on the Internet, etc pushes people so far in the other direction that there might not be an even lower price that becomes a sweet spot for increasing purchases.

  2. That’s entirely possible. Publishers struggle with this quite a bit. It’s difficult to move away from a price model where the cost of manufacturing the book justified the retail markup to a model where there is no physical product. Publishers still have the cost of producing the book, but the public has been conditioned to expect a free product if it is digital and not physical.

    Interesting, exciting times we’re living in!

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