Author Topic: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)  (Read 4102 times)  

Online Elizabeth Ann West

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dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« on: July 17, 2017, 08:32:14 AM »
Disclaimer: Friendly, neighborhood experimenter here, EAW :) I am sharing this so others may watch the experiment if they would like, I am in no way saying EVERYONE has to do what I'm doing. I share what I do and test and try so there's more than one playbook out there of tips, techniques, and results. Savvy? :)

**************************

$14.99. Even just to type it still makes my adrenaline rush a bit. Before anyone yells I'm gouging anyone, remember this book is still 100% free to read on Fanfiction and my readers know that.

On a lark last week, I applied for a Bookbub on The Whisky Wedding which, bless its heart, has had a bit of a haphazard launch. I had to cancel the original preorder of over 400 orders on Amazon at $9.99 right after Christmas. I will get it tattooed on my FOREHEAD that from now on, my publishing empire is CLOSED to all publishing from November 1 to Jan 1 other than publishing already written stuff. So all of that failure on this book, much to my surprise 6 months later, this book has earned over $10,000 on just Amazon, and it's my 3rd overall bestseller. Even though it's the baby of the bunch.

Bookbub picked up the book for an August 4th .99 sale. So I stopped everything I was doing and moved the book to Pronoun so I could at least get 70% on .99 sales. This isn't a series book, so there is no harm for me to have it on Pronoun, I can't even run AMS ads on it because it has "whisky" in the title. But I also don't like AMS ads. Anyway, since I was going to go ahead and move the Amazon and Nook listing to Pronoun, and pick up Overdrive and Bibliotecha, and the book has already "earned" out what I wanted from it, I decided to go ahead and try $14.99.

When you move a book to Pronoun, if you make the title and author name the EXACT same, the old reviews pick right up. I messed up my boxed set I also moved over, but I'm not too worried about that. But it also makes the book a "new release" again as far as Amazon is concerned. I haven't told my mailing list about the move. I did mention it on the last chapter I put on Fanfiction, but to my utter surprise, the book is charting on the HNR list for clean and wholesome and inspriational. I asked Pronoun for Scottish Romance and Regency Romance, they put me in Regency Romance, and 3 other categories. TBH, I never really thought to put my books in YA, but Pride and Prejudice is HS curriculum, and my books are clean, so that may be another boon for me that I didn't think of before.

So why $14.99? Why do I need to test the higher prices?

I know some get tired of hearing about it, but I write in a niche, it's a subcategory of a few genres: British Classics/Regency Romance/ Sweet Romance/ Derivative Fiction/ Inspirational Romance ( you can't really remove religion from that period in history). It's a big VENN DIAGRAM where all of those are circles of various sizes and my reader pool is that small bit in the center, about 10,000-20,000 readers in the whole genre. And they don't all like the same things. The biggest "team" seems to be Team Darcy and Elizabeth Regency, but there's also Team Jane and Bingley and Team Modern, and Team No Angst and Team Super Angst. These are good things to learn about your own genre, where do readers break and go "I want space opera governmental subplots/I want space opera with more romance/adventure" or "Team Pets" in contemporary romance vs. "Team Baby" in contemporary romance. Call it what you will, preferred tropes, trends, or teams, but like you learn about voters in a campaign, people have criteria that they ascribe to and will break them down into demographics.

In the long term, I have series novellas and novels. I also now have stand alone novels, and I've always had stand alone novellas. In my genre, getting a 450-500+ page book is one of the most highest sought after products. By making mine free to read for all and $14.99 for the collector's edition, I'm not out of line with other titles in my larger genre where NY publishers put out 1-2 titles a year. It also allows me to keep writing the stand alones because they don't get a boost like my series books do when I put a new one of those out. Their launch is pretty much their big push unless I run like a Bookbub ad. And even this one, I am planning to leave the .99 price for 14 days, August 1-15th. Because the end of the ebook pushes my other .99 boxed set that's both Book Ones of my Series. The goal is to get readers into my series. :)

This might all go kablooey. Math speaking on my $9.99 titles in a release month I sell about 1500-2000 copies of the stand alone novels. I won't be testing a $14.99 stand alone release until 2018 from the start. But on that project, I would have to lose 500-700 readers over the $14.99 pricing. I might. But I don't think I will. And then, as titles age, I can reduce the prices down and run sales to meet the needs of other readers who want to own a copy, but don't want to pay a premium price for it.

The reason I am not planning to use Pronoun for Google, Kobo, and Apple is because they already all pay the same rate on prices over $9.99.

So there you go Kboards, there's the experiment. I will book mark this thread and keep results updated, especially what happens with the Bookbub and how that goes. And I have to get hot and finish up my WIP because I'm releasing Book 4 in my novel series at the end of this month and it has the same 4 last scenes to write that have been taunting me for 3 weeks. :) With any luck, the release + .99 bookbub will make August/September 2017 the months I can pin point as where I took my career to the next level. In 4 years when hubby is retired from the military, I won't be able to risk as much experimentation, so it's time now to make sure I know all of my limits and the inside, upside, downside of my market. :)


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 08:51:12 AM »
Good luck. I'm interested to hear how it goes.

One question: It sounds like you were approved for the Bookbub before you moved the title to Pronoun.  How did you update the Amazon link with them?  Did you just email them about it or can you do that on your own in the dashboard?


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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 08:58:44 AM »
I emailed Bookbub and let them know, I'm waiting on the Nook link to go through and then I will update my Bookbub dashboard and email them the updated links. :) The move to Pronoun for a .99 deal run is pretty common for those of us not in KU these days. Bookbub had no issues that the links would be updating.


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Offline Devyn Jayse

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 09:28:47 AM »
Sounds like a fun experiment! Best of luck. I'll be coming back for updates  :D
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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 10:35:50 AM »
Always interested in tests and grateful to the testers!

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 11:02:27 AM »
Disclaimer: Friendly, neighborhood experimenter here, EAW :) I am sharing this so others may watch the experiment if they would like, I am in no way saying EVERYONE has to do what I'm doing. I share what I do and test and try so there's more than one playbook out there of tips, techniques, and results. Savvy? :)

**************************

$14.99. Even just to type it still makes my adrenaline rush a bit. Before anyone yells I'm gouging anyone, remember this book is still 100% free to read on Fanfiction and my readers know that.

On a lark last week, I applied for a Bookbub on The Whisky Wedding which, bless its heart, has had a bit of a haphazard launch. I had to cancel the original preorder of over 400 orders on Amazon at $9.99 right after Christmas. I will get it tattooed on my FOREHEAD that from now on, my publishing empire is CLOSED to all publishing from November 1 to Jan 1 other than publishing already written stuff. So all of that failure on this book, much to my surprise 6 months later, this book has earned over $10,000 on just Amazon, and it's my 3rd overall bestseller. Even though it's the baby of the bunch.

Bookbub picked up the book for an August 4th .99 sale. So I stopped everything I was doing and moved the book to Pronoun so I could at least get 70% on .99 sales. This isn't a series book, so there is no harm for me to have it on Pronoun, I can't even run AMS ads on it because it has "whisky" in the title. But I also don't like AMS ads. Anyway, since I was going to go ahead and move the Amazon and Nook listing to Pronoun, and pick up Overdrive and Bibliotecha, and the book has already "earned" out what I wanted from it, I decided to go ahead and try $14.99.

When you move a book to Pronoun, if you make the title and author name the EXACT same, the old reviews pick right up. I messed up my boxed set I also moved over, but I'm not too worried about that. But it also makes the book a "new release" again as far as Amazon is concerned. I haven't told my mailing list about the move. I did mention it on the last chapter I put on Fanfiction, but to my utter surprise, the book is charting on the HNR list for clean and wholesome and inspriational. I asked Pronoun for Scottish Romance and Regency Romance, they put me in Regency Romance, and 3 other categories. TBH, I never really thought to put my books in YA, but Pride and Prejudice is HS curriculum, and my books are clean, so that may be another boon for me that I didn't think of before.

So why $14.99? Why do I need to test the higher prices?

I know some get tired of hearing about it, but I write in a niche, it's a subcategory of a few genres: British Classics/Regency Romance/ Sweet Romance/ Derivative Fiction/ Inspirational Romance ( you can't really remove religion from that period in history). It's a big VENN DIAGRAM where all of those are circles of various sizes and my reader pool is that small bit in the center, about 10,000-20,000 readers in the whole genre. And they don't all like the same things. The biggest "team" seems to be Team Darcy and Elizabeth Regency, but there's also Team Jane and Bingley and Team Modern, and Team No Angst and Team Super Angst. These are good things to learn about your own genre, where do readers break and go "I want space opera governmental subplots/I want space opera with more romance/adventure" or "Team Pets" in contemporary romance vs. "Team Baby" in contemporary romance. Call it what you will, preferred tropes, trends, or teams, but like you learn about voters in a campaign, people have criteria that they ascribe to and will break them down into demographics.

In the long term, I have series novellas and novels. I also now have stand alone novels, and I've always had stand alone novellas. In my genre, getting a 450-500+ page book is one of the most highest sought after products. By making mine free to read for all and $14.99 for the collector's edition, I'm not out of line with other titles in my larger genre where NY publishers put out 1-2 titles a year. It also allows me to keep writing the stand alones because they don't get a boost like my series books do when I put a new one of those out. Their launch is pretty much their big push unless I run like a Bookbub ad. And even this one, I am planning to leave the .99 price for 14 days, August 1-15th. Because the end of the ebook pushes my other .99 boxed set that's both Book Ones of my Series. The goal is to get readers into my series. :)

This might all go kablooey. Math speaking on my $9.99 titles in a release month I sell about 1500-2000 copies of the stand alone novels. I won't be testing a $14.99 stand alone release until 2018 from the start. But on that project, I would have to lose 500-700 readers over the $14.99 pricing. I might. But I don't think I will. And then, as titles age, I can reduce the prices down and run sales to meet the needs of other readers who want to own a copy, but don't want to pay a premium price for it.

The reason I am not planning to use Pronoun for Google, Kobo, and Apple is because they already all pay the same rate on prices over $9.99.

So there you go Kboards, there's the experiment. I will book mark this thread and keep results updated, especially what happens with the Bookbub and how that goes. And I have to get hot and finish up my WIP because I'm releasing Book 4 in my novel series at the end of this month and it has the same 4 last scenes to write that have been taunting me for 3 weeks. :) With any luck, the release + .99 bookbub will make August/September 2017 the months I can pin point as where I took my career to the next level. In 4 years when hubby is retired from the military, I won't be able to risk as much experimentation, so it's time now to make sure I know all of my limits and the inside, upside, downside of my market. :)

Elizabeth i always enjoy your experiments, whether they work or not. It's interesting stuff. Keep it up and thanks for sharing.

Offline usedtocare

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 01:29:26 PM »
Following. Can't wait to see how it works out.  8)

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 02:52:24 PM »
I looked at Pronoun and what killed my interest was the 41% royalties for sales outside the US (maybe the UK was included, too). Someone said that you can't select platforms, but I believe this is no longer true? Didn't read any further after that 41%.

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 04:47:33 PM »
You can select platforms. The other country royalty for me is less of an issue... International sales is about 10% because Canada is included in the 70% and 65% percentages. And with VAT, it's about a 10% difference in the end and with higher cost books or bundles, it's better than the 35% for prices over $9.99.

But totally, pronoun makes the most sense when all the angles are considered. No series page, AMS ads, and lag in reporting could all be deal breakers for another author.


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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 10:42:08 AM »
Early sales figures are in.

On Amazon for the entire month of July so far (1-14th) before I pulled The Whisky Wedding to pronoun at $9.99 the book sold 10 copies for $61.

Granted, it's getting some "new release" algorithm love from Amazon right now, but I didn't tell my mailing list or anything.... From July 14-18th, I've sold 16 copies at $14.99 for a so far estimated earnings of $126.

I know this isn't big money for some here, but it's good money to me! :) And it's proof of concept. I find every price I try I find new readers who are interested in THAT price point.... is 16 low sales for 4 days? For some here, I know it would feel catastrophic, but if you think about it like the equivalent of 63 sales at $2.99 as far as earnings go, it's not too shabby. Granted, I didn't get 63 new people to me, I only got 16 readers (actually 18, I've sold a book for $14.99 on Kobo and Google as well).

It's a very different paradigm: fewer readers, more money. But I think in the end both strategies can make good money.


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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 11:21:07 AM »
There are definitely buyers drawn to higher priced books who intentionally overlook low-priced and free. Your experiment will be interesting to follow.


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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 11:23:13 AM »
It's a very different paradigm: fewer readers, more money. But I think in the end both strategies can make good money.

In all seriousness, the smaller customer pool at higher price points is the entire basis of most prestige brands. When we stop thinking about books as commodities and thinking of them as brands, it makes sense. Whenever someone asks "Why would anyone pay X for your book when there are so many for 99 cents?" I reply with "Why does anyone spend $5 on coffee at Starbucks when Wawa sells it for a buck?" (Which reminds me, today is free coffee Wednesday at Wawa...)

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 11:27:46 AM »
Early sales figures are in.

On Amazon for the entire month of July so far (1-14th) before I pulled The Whisky Wedding to pronoun at $9.99 the book sold 10 copies for $61.

Granted, it's getting some "new release" algorithm love from Amazon right now, but I didn't tell my mailing list or anything.... From July 14-18th, I've sold 16 copies at $14.99 for a so far estimated earnings of $126.

I know this isn't big money for some here, but it's good money to me! :) And it's proof of concept. I find every price I try I find new readers who are interested in THAT price point.... is 16 low sales for 4 days? For some here, I know it would feel catastrophic, but if you think about it like the equivalent of 63 sales at $2.99 as far as earnings go, it's not too shabby. Granted, I didn't get 63 new people to me, I only got 16 readers (actually 18, I've sold a book for $14.99 on Kobo and Google as well).

It's a very different paradigm: fewer readers, more money. But I think in the end both strategies can make good money.

That's fantastic!
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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 12:55:48 PM »
Thanks everyone for the support and well-wishes. :)

In regards to Pronoun, the international sales aspect of it DID make me pause. The only way Pronoun really works for me is on books that I want to go beyond $9.99 pricing on, either because it's a long stand-alone novel or a boxed set of books. Lifetime, my non US and Canada sales on Amazon do make up 22% of my earnings . . . BUT, with currency exchange rates and VAT it gets a little more complicated in calculating the effect break point. So I just simplified it by the percentage rate: Before on a 9.99 book I would make about ~6.90 after delivery charges etc. Flat on a 14.99 ebook I make 6.14 at 41% in the UK. But I also make 50%, not 35% on any sales on .com from other countries. So that's what I mean that it's complicated when you start looking at the international stuff.

UK is 14% of lifetime sales on Amazon for me. Can I afford for 14% of my 85% retailer (Amazon) to be -1 less ($1.30 ish value) if 76% of the 85% retailer is +$3.72 a sale? Yes. It's still effectively a positive increase same if I apply it across the full 22% of Amazon international sales. The amount of increase on the over $9.99 price points is greater than the 22% stake the international sales have. But that won't be the same for everyone else, ALWAYS LOOK AT YOUR OWN DATA.

Also, the title of this isn't a dare to other, but just to be daring, whatever that means for you. That might mean pushing yourself to write a bigger word count this week, or next week, or apply for a Bookbub etc. Whatever it is that you have wanted to try and haven't, make a plan for how to try, consider a safety net. :) I am not testing $14.99 on a brand new release that will make or break a launch, yet, I am testing on a book that has effectively earned out for me. See? Safety net.

Good luck everyone, I better get back to writing.


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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 01:04:34 PM »
Best of luck.   :)
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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2017, 10:58:48 AM »
The roller coaster has started. I dropped my price in anticipation of the promotions I have running later this week so end of month didn't cause snafus. Book is #5,000 something in the Paid Kindle store right now. I asked my reader group to share it and for any late reviews. Reader group is 450 people on Facebook. I don't know the sales yet that made that rank, Pronoun is delayed.

I made over $250 on the $14.99 pricing before dropping it to .99. Total ads cost outlay right now is $750 (Bookbub + KND).

Here we go! KND is Thursday, Bookbub is Friday. Someone send over Valium. :)


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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2017, 05:40:00 PM »
I love this experiment Elizabeth, I can't wait to see how it works out. :)

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2017, 07:37:38 PM »
Most of these "hold my beer, I got an idea" threads are either a mostly predictable daily list of success (or failure) or a blinding mass of indecipherable (for me) figures.
I really like the way you clearly lay out the premise and then go for it. Excellent.
Also, love the idea of whacking up the price on a book or two of my own (I know what BS&T went into them).
Rooting for you!

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2017, 11:38:26 PM »
I made over $250 on the $14.99 pricing before dropping it to .99. Total ads cost outlay right now is $750 (Bookbub + KND).

How do you think your $14.99 readers will feel when/if they see your book at that new $0.99 price?

Don't get me wrong: I am only asking. I think it is an interesting experiment, but I wonder if, immediately after discovering them, you may be about to alienate the most valuable group of people within your readership.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2017, 11:42:18 PM by Will Edwards »

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2017, 07:07:01 AM »
How do you think your $14.99 readers will feel when/if they see your book at that new $0.99 price?

I can only speak for myself, but I never price check after I buy something. If it comes to my attention that it's on sale shortly after I paid full price, I might groan to myself that I should have waited, but I don't become "alienated" because a business has a sale. If it was a good purchase at full price, I'll signal-boost that it's a steal at a reduced price.

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2017, 08:34:53 AM »
It was my readers who bought the book at $9.99 or $14.99 who sent out the messages that they loved the book and now it's on super sale. I also let them know, taking my book through this process helps our genre, bringing more readers into the Darcy fold. :)

Stuff goes on sale all the time. Every reader has a 7 day window to return an ebook on Amazon at least, and I've never seen a mass return on a higher priced book when it went on sale. Maybe 1-2 returns. But I have only 1-3 returns a month on any title, so it's not necessarily significant meaning the price change spurred on the returns.

We assume a lot of myths about readers, and because of the popularity of low price, high volume, it sorta became indie law that our readers are ONLY the ones looking for a bargain. My readers would be angrier if I quit writing, which IS a problem in my genre. My readers would be angrier if I suddenly started writing not Darcy and Elizabeth books. Not all readers want to be identified as bargain hunters. Yes, there is a large population of readers out there who wear that crown proudly, and they should, there's no shame in wanting a deal. But it's not ALL readers. Someone out there is still buying a whole lot of trad pub books at trad pub prices. I took a leaf out of the hats of John Locke and others and instead of going "I only have to be 10% as good" I went "I bet they still aren't giving their readers everything they want." :)

I used blogging chapters on forums and my site to build a base of readers who want to be a part of the process and frame my publishing empire as a service based business. That's why I pursued translations and large print early on. I write chapters live as a means to demonstrate my work ethic, which admittedly has sucked these last 7 months. Part of it was I got really sick and had to fix my health, another part was mental. It's now the eve of August and I am feeling back where I was late 2016 which is good.  I had to fix both. :)

I share what I share because I know this is very . . .  odd. I hesitated to bring this particular project to Kboards because it is public. In my reader group we are a community. We comfort one another when there's cancer, when there's natural disaster, my UK readers checked in they were safe after the terrorist attacks, etc. etc. My model is those closest to me to be in the know get the story for free. Those who wish to buy to support and own a copy do so and I am grateful. It allows me to keep stuff free for others who can't afford it. And the strangers who come across my books highly ranked and highly reviewed buy and sample and they frequently join the community. So it's just a slow, organic, outreach program for the hopelessly Darcy addicted, of which I am most seriously afflicted. :) :)


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Offline Will Edwards

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2017, 12:34:09 PM »
I share what I share because I know this is very . . .  odd. I hesitated to bring this particular project to Kboards because it is public. In my reader group we are a community. We comfort one another when there's cancer, when there's natural disaster, my UK readers checked in they were safe after the terrorist attacks, etc. etc. My model is those closest to me to be in the know get the story for free. Those who wish to buy to support and own a copy do so and I am grateful. It allows me to keep stuff free for others who can't afford it. And the strangers who come across my books highly ranked and highly reviewed buy and sample and they frequently join the community. So it's just a slow, organic, outreach program for the hopelessly Darcy addicted, of which I am most seriously afflicted. :) :)

Sounds like you know what you are doing.

Good luck with the experiment.

Offline notjohn

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2017, 01:50:12 PM »
EA, you will be happy to know that the Wall Street Journal has two articles (well, one was an op-ed) on both sides of this question. The op-ed listed a bunch of failing businesses that, as their sales drop, raise prices to compensate, with the US Postal Service topping the list.

The other article explained why Apple can and may charge $1400 for its 10th anniversary super-luxe cell phone, even though many of its super features are already on the most recent Samsung Galaxy (8, I think it is). There are several reasons, but the clincher is this: the more it costs, the more people lust for it, because owning a $1400 cell tells the world that you've made it!

The only thing wrong that I can see with your plan is the notion of dropping the $14.99 book to 99 cents. I've never lusted after a $1000-plus cell phone, but I definitely stay away from 99 cent books.
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Offline David VanDyke

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2017, 05:07:25 PM »


The only thing wrong that I can see with your plan is the notion of dropping the $14.99 book to 99 cents. I've never lusted after a $1000-plus cell phone, but I definitely stay away from 99 cent books.

She's actually fishing in two completely different ponds--those who will pay, and those who won't. This is akin to the pools of those who will line up and pay for a hardback at their favorite bookstore on release day, and those who will wait as long as it takes for the hardback to start showing up used in the secondhand shops or on Amazon.

Neither is wrong, and taken together, it's smart. The only real question is, what's the right retail price number? $14.99 seems wrong to me (to ME, note, I'm not saying she's wrong), especially because of the $9.99 70% break point on Amazon and other sites. I'd tend to think $9.99 would have made her more money.


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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: dare. (Pronoun and testing $14.99 pricing)
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2017, 05:31:02 PM »
especially because of the $9.99 70% break point on Amazon and other sites.

But she's using Pronoun so that isn't an issue.


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