If a publisher buys the rights to a book from an agent and lays out the expenses for editing, typesetting, publicity then I fully understand and endorse their setting a product price that proves to their board that they have a plan to recover expenses and make a profit. I’m referring to actual printed books with an army of middle persons involved in the process.
Profile, if you will, the top of the chain self published author. Likely they will not go through the expense of dead tree publishing unless it is on Createspace because everyone who has a say in the industry has made that option very prohibitive. Typically the self published author will have the expense of editing and cover art. Copyrighting the work costs $35 per title on the eCO website. If they are deluded enough to think that they can be compensated based on their own time and effort then they are not really near the top of the chain. So if they do a print issue which is ‘Print on Demand’ through a mechanism like Createspace the process forces the author to price at least at the cost of production which their software makes plain.
My point here is this. Pricing should cover the cost of unit production then arbitrarily a dollar per unit, or $.99 which psychologically looks better for some idiotic reason. If you have written a work that you feel should appeal to say 100,000 readers in it’s shelf life who can spend $1 on a book then you will have earned back $100,000 for what may have been $2,000 on the creation top end of inputs for a self-pub.
Overall take home. Price your work so that it will reach and win over the most fans.
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Angus, your logic is sound, but there is one flaw in it. The vast majority of self-published authors never sell 100 copies of a book in their lifetime, so if they truly do spend money up front, even $100, the author could never recover his or her investment with just a $1 markup.
Thank you for commenting there Jim. So firstly, in the US population alone, if the author’s work is not likely to appeal to more than a hundred readers then they probably shouldn’t go through all the effort to publish. I consider what you call a flaw to be a reasonable goal over the shelf life of a novel and I’m not changing my mind on that one so you can save on the carpel tunnel aggravation.
That point aside a hundred units sold at say $6 for ease of moving along here comes to …wait for it…$600. I hope you are good at the cover art and have familial slave labor for the editing.
The point I’m actually making here is that by inflating the price of books we are economically handicapping ourselves as authors. By pricing an eBook at $6 or more you most likely are shrinking the net to 100 readers who will choose to use their questionably disposable entertainment dollars on you.