Clearly, there has never been more opportunity for individuals to self-publish books as there is in this day and age. But more opportunity equates to more competition. So, how can indie authors stand out from the millions of other books being published every year all over the world? How can they maximize each book project so it brings them commercial sales success?
Specifically: What is an appropriate (and effective) retail price point for an e-book?
Some people will jump to this conclusion right away: Price it cheap! Price it at $9.99 USD or lower! I'm willing to bet these individuals have been indoctrinated by a certain e-commerce site that shall remain nameless because this post is about educating people rather than pointing a critical finger at any one company. That said, there's a lot more to pricing any type of book than simply trying to undercut the competition. There is much more to consider.
First and foremost, you need to understand your audience and what motivates them to buy. For the people who desire a low price ahead of all else and automatically assume that everyone views it the same way you do, think again. There are all kinds of different people in this world with all kinds of different reasons for buying e-books. You need to speak to them in their marketing language if you want them to buy from you.
Yes, some people buy things based on price. The marketing language you will use with this group might sound like this: Have what you want for less. Nobody will ever undercut our price! The affordable solution for thrifty consumers.
Other people buy things based on value. The marketing language you will use with this group might sound more like this: Sophistication and classical style for discerning women. Crafted with care for the distinguished gentleman.
Does that make sense? Although price is the most important thing for some people in some situations, other customers will buy depending on the perceived value of something ahead of the price. If that weren't the case then we wouldn't see any BMWs on the road, would we? Nor would we see so many people walking around with a Venti Latte from Starbucks in their hands when they could just as easily pick up a cheap coffee from Dunkin Donuts. The same principle can be applied to books as can be applied to cars and coffee--and everything else you're trying to sell.
Don't think about your book as a simple commodity. Think of it as valuable information. It's the content your customers are buying--not the format of the book. How can that content help them to improve their lives? If they believe that content will significantly improve their lives, they'll pay more for it. But you must provide them with value that is commensurate with the price you're charging. Otherwise, you'll lose the sale to your competitor. Likewise, if you tell someone your content is valuable but then you price it cheap, you're sending them a mixed message which will probably make them shop elsewhere.