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Discussion Starter #1
I have a new short story in a series that I'm almost ready to launch. The story is 10,000 words. I can make the introductory price .99 cents, but I'd rather sell it for $1.99. It's a cross-genre story--Coming of Age, YA, Women's fiction. Almost everything I've read about the $1.99 price point is negative. (I'm selling a novella in the series for $2.99.) Your advice would be most appreciated!
 

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Everything I've read about the $1.99 price point indicates that it's a dead zone. That being said, I would't pay more than $1 for 10,000 words. The only genre that can get away with that is erotica. I have a fairly well established series and I've added shorter works to the mix from other character's perspectives. They're all 20,000-25,000 words and I charge .99 for them. I never want people to think I charged them too much and delivered too little.
 

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It's a dead zone. My thoughts for this:
99 cent Readers think the price is too high. $2.99 Readers think it's too cheap and therefore poor quality.  ???
There is no readership for in between.
 

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$1.99 is such a dead zone! I have a novella that I sold at $1.99 for a while. It is 100 pages, not sure what that equates to in word count. I upped the price to $2.99 and SOLD MORE at the higher royalty rate.

I sell slightly more of it at 99 cents than $2.99 ... but not enough more to justify lowering the price at this time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your help. The collective wisdom on this board is a gift. There is no question that it will be priced at .99 cents!
 

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The problem with $1.99 is that is the usual sales price for big name publishers.  So if the average reader sees that price, they think on sale.
 

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I personally like $1.99, and I reckon if Amazon wasn't so tight with the royalty rate, everyone else would like it too. But whatever. I have a couple at that price point. They sold all right on Amazon when they were first released a couple of years ago. They sell okay on Google now, where I get close to 70% royalty for them. You see, readers on other platforms don't have the same biases as those on Amazon. $1.99 is a good price for a novelette/novella.
 

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$1.99 is a dead zone, not because of the price itself, but because it offers no advantage to the reader or author.  It's a high price, low royalty price point.  Bad for readers, bad for authors.  This is why no one uses it. It's just a mathematically bad price to use and the few noteworthy studies of price points to sales ratio confirms it.  The only reason $1.99 doesn't work is because of Amazon and other retailers royalty and payment schemes.

Writing is an art, and I find it a little odd that so many of us try to value the art by volume of words.  It assumes that every book is the same.  Books are not the same, they are not boxes of cereal where price divided by volume to get a  unit price per word determines the worth of your product. 
 

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Tyler Danann said:
If it's a discounted price to $1.99 it should be fine.
I wonder... It would be interesting to see data behind say a regularly priced book of $6.99 or something, discounted through a countdown deal to 99c and a good promo like Bookbub, compared to the same scenario but discounted to $1.99. My gut tells me it wouldn't do as well because the $1.99 price point is so odd, but as an author you would get 70% of $1.99 on a countdown promo.
 

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**********
 

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Phoenix Sullivan said:
What studies have you seen? The only one I've seen is Mark Coker's and my analysis of his conclusion indicates it was HIS math that was flawed.

Amazon uses $1.99 to a nice advantage. I have a feeling that "$1.99 is a dead zone" is a myth perpetuated by the flawed study mentioned above. Everyone *knows* it's dead, few people price there, and like most things in publishing, the results are all over the board for those who do use it.

But if there have been other good, recent studies on pricing, I'm interested in seeing them.
You have a lot of pricing info at your fingertips. Have you compiled any pricing info on all the books you service and do any of them give you insight on the $1.99 price point? I didn't really see any flaw in the Smashwords data, but I would like to hear what about it makes it flawed. The only thing I can think of is that no one uses $1.99 so the datasets are small compared to all the others. But there was a clear volume drop between 99c and $1.99. So much so that with the same royalty rate it was a clear loss for the "mean" (not average) $1.99 priced book.
 
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1) This: Personally, I wouldn't pay more than 99c for a short story by an unknown author.

2) $1.99 is a bit of a trap.

At $0.99 you're hitting the Psychological point of 'Lowest price for a paid book'. You're getting 35 cents.

At $1.99 you're stuck in the middle. It's no longer cheap. For short stories there's no way it's an impulse buy any more. Plus you're getting 70 cents.

At $2.99, it's no longer cheap. However, you're making $2 per sale.

1 sale at $2.99 = 3 sales at $1.99. Very few cases in which it makes sense to use $1.99.

That being said, $0.99 is best price point for short stories and also for some books. It has the lowest amount of friction and becomes an impulse buy for a large portion of readers.

instead of asking two questions

Q1 Is this book worth the money?

Q2 Do I want this book?

Authors tend to ask just 1 question

Q1 Do I want this book?

If yes, then IMPULSE BUY.
 

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The problem with $1.99 is that people don't see it as the "best price" like they do $.99, so it doesn't bring in the same numbers. At the same time, it's not $2.99, so you don't get the higher royalty. From a buyer's point of view, $1.99 is much closer to $2.99 than $.99, and they treat it the nearly the same as $2.99.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ireaderreview said:
1) This: Personally, I wouldn't pay more than 99c for a short story by an unknown author.
I'm not an unknown author. Readers like the series and follow it. The first story, which is permafree, is a best seller in two categories in the free Kindle store. The novella in this series is $2.99. This new story won't be included in the collected stories so I thought I might have some room with the price. After reading all the posts, I believe my best choice is .99 cents.
 

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Lady Vine said:
I personally like $1.99, and I reckon if Amazon wasn't so tight with the royalty rate, everyone else would like it too. But whatever. I have a couple at that price point. They sold all right on Amazon when they were first released a couple of years ago. They sell okay on Google now, where I get close to 70% royalty for them. You see, readers on other platforms don't have the same biases as those on Amazon. $1.99 is a good price for a novelette/novella.
This. I have several out at this price point (PNR, 15k-20k) and they sell pretty well for me (or what I consider well, anyway, ranked in the 2000-3000 range). I do think it's a valid price point if the market will bear it for your genre and length. I know some people don't see the value in it, but honestly, 70 cents is better than 35 cents no matter how you cut it. Not as good as 70% of 2.99, but if you can't get 2.99 for it either way, then it doesn't really matter lol. I'll take the extra 35 cents, pleaseandthankyou :D
 

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SBJones said:
You have a lot of pricing info at your fingertips. Have you compiled any pricing info on all the books you service and do any of them give you insight on the $1.99 price point? I didn't really see any flaw in the Smashwords data, but I would like to hear what about it makes it flawed. The only thing I can think of is that no one uses $1.99 so the datasets are small compared to all the others. But there was a clear volume drop between 99c and $1.99. So much so that with the same royalty rate it was a clear loss for the "mean" (not average) $1.99 priced book.
I had read that study and recently decided to try some new things with pricing. To offer some anecdotal data, I very definitely did NOT see a drop in volume when I went from .99 to 1.99 on certain titles. Ranks stayed almost exactly where they were and sales continued on an even keel.
 

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I have a three 10,000 word short stories I price at $1.49. These really only sell to people who buy the novels in my main series, and not many at that. But at $.99 only the same people buy, so why not make a little more?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Bob Stewart said:
I have a three 10,000 word short stories I price at $1.49. These really only sell to people who buy the novels in my main series, and not many at that. But at $.99 only the same people buy, so why not make a little more?
That's something to think about.
 
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