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It seems to me that there are two schools of thought when it comes to 99¢ pricing. One seems to think that it's a good promo price. Make the first book in the series 99¢, or run a 99¢ promo on a book, to get people hooked so they buy other books at the regular price. The other seems to think that readers will associate 99¢ with junk.

Yesterday, I went through a list of free books on another site. A number had a regular price of 99¢ and the authors were running a free promo on them. Several of the ones I looked at, using "Look Inside!", looked to be rather junky. I didn't download any of them to check them out further. The previews did not instill confidence and left me wondering about the legitimacy of the five star ratings many of these have.

That sort of thing leaves you questioning the wisdom of using 99¢ pricing. Will readers see it as a good deal, or just cheap junk?

I think it depends on how you expect readers to find your book. Consider a dollar store, where most items are a buck. There's a lot of junk there, but you can also find some good deals. So, if readers look through sites that list free and cheap books, they may go there expecting that most of what they will find is junk, but they wouldn't go there at all if they didn't expect to find some gems. So, I would think that, if you are listing your free or 99¢ books on sites like that, the low price is not going to be a turnoff to readers.

The next is to consider the checkout aisles at grocery stores, Walmart and the like. Right by the checkout counter, they will have the cheap tabloids, candies, gum, tiny booklets, etc. They're inexpensive, but they're a good impulse buy. You've just spent an hour shopping, so you may feel you've earned that 99¢ chocolate bar. Or maybe you're life is in shambles and you want to grab a tabloid to read how much worse rich celebrities have it. Or, maybe you spot that little guide with 101 ways to use vinegar and figure it's worth a buck. So, if you think readers will find you in the Also Boughts, a low price can be a good thing. It might encourage an impulse buy. "Other people that bought this book I'm buying also bought this book from some author I never heard of? Am I missing out? Oh, it's only ninety-nine cents!?" Click. Added to cart...

If your book is listed in any place that gives a full review or that shows your writing ability (such as your own site, guest posts, perhaps even interviews, etc.), then price is less a factor. If they're sold by the recommendation or by enjoying your writing samples on display, that 99¢ is an impulse buy. "This woman's funny! I bet her book is funny too!" Click. Added to cart...

I would think where a low price might be a negative is when people search on Amazon for books or browse in your genre or whatnot. If your book is appearing next to a lot of books at higher prices, people may wonder why yours is so low. Maybe it's not as good? It's kind of like going to a high end jewelry store, stocked with $1,000+ diamond rings and spotting a $99 diamond ring. Will you think, oh, what a deal? Or will you be thinking, what's wrong with that ring? Is the diamond chipped? Is it cut bad? Is it cubic zirconia?

Anyway, that's just my afternoon meandering. Maybe those of you who are better marketers than I might have some better insights.
 

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I raised some of my 99c books to $2.99 and sales dropped. My two 99c books outsell my $2.99 by a large margin. I guess my readers are the bargain bin buyers  ;D
 
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