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Discussion Starter #1
Is there any trick to, or resource for, setting a paperback price?  Obviously, one way would be to look at other paperbacks in the genre (similar books), but when doing that, does page length make a difference?  Amazon lists my paperback at 142 pages, which is almost exactly the # of pages in my paperback.  (Ironically, the ebook is shown as 144 pages... I wonder why that is?)

The book in question is middle-grade.  I just checked the top 20 books in the category, and I discovered two interesting things:
1) most MG books in the top 20 (if not ALL of them) don't have paperback versions.  They have HARDCOVERS.  That doesn't help me answer my original question, like, at all.  :mad:

And on a related note, 2) many of the hardcovers of these books are under $10.  Kindle version may be, say, $7.99, and hardcover is $9.99; in other words, not much more than kindle version. I wonder why that is?  Most hardcover books in other genres are $14-18.

Anyway, I'm trying to determine if I should re-price my MG paperbacks, but I have no frame of reference to work with.

 

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Jena H said:
And on a related note, 2) many of the hardcovers of these books are under $10. Kindle version may be, say, $7.99, and hardcover is $9.99; in other words, not much more than kindle version. I wonder why that is? Most hardcover books in other genres are $14-18.
Well, most hardcover books are also a lot longer than 142 pages.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ShayneRutherford said:
Well, most hardcover books are also a lot longer than 142 pages.
Yes, my question was not about length of hardcovers. My surprise at looking at the top 20 books was caused by 1) the fact that none of the books offered a paperback version, only kindle & hardcover, and 2) the prices of most of those hardcovers are much lower than I expected. There are paperbacks that cost more than some of these hardcovers.
 

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There are a few factors at play in this. I think MG readers still prefer books in print. I know mine do. It's harder to break through in ebook form with these readers. To be competitive, you'll need a paperback or hardcover option available. Most of the books you're comparing to are trad published, so they also set the ebook price high, much like they do with other genres. Price your ebook the way you think will sell, but you'll need to get the print version pricing similar to trad pub.
 

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Most traditionally published MG paperbacks that I see on Amazon are going to be between $6.99-$9.99. Looking at a couple of classics, "A Wrinkle in Time" is surprisingly low at $5.35; "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is $8.99. I checked a few more recently published titles and they all seem to fall in that range. I suspect it has less to do with length as it does with popularity and how much the publisher thinks the reading public will be willing to spend.

Oh, and an illustrated edition will always cost more, obviously.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
blubarry said:
There are a few factors at play in this. I think MG readers still prefer books in print. I know mine do. It's harder to break through in ebook form with these readers. To be competitive, you'll need a paperback or hardcover option available. Most of the books you're comparing to are trad published, so they also set the ebook price high, much like they do with other genres. Price your ebook the way you think will sell, but you'll need to get the print version pricing similar to trad pub.
I do have a paperback of these books, have had for years. I'm just wondering if I need to re-price them, which is what prompted me to ask the question. ANd to look at the top sellers in the field. I was just surprised at how many hardbacks are priced under $14. :eek: As well as the fact that there are no paperback versions in the top 20.
 

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Personally, I add somewhere between $1 and $2 onto the cost price, fiddling about with the cents until I get a nice purchase price (typically $X.99 or $X.95) that yields around $1 or just over in profit. I am quite happy to make that amount and offer a competitively priced offering.
 

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The extra 2 pages listed to your own page count is probably because they add a blank page at the end when printed, or at least they used to.

POD is not price competative with trad published long print runs with a print cost of 60c to 1 dollar per book. My competition is other indies. My books are a lot longer, say 330 pages as a 9x6. I retail at 13.95 with a, royalty of 3.50, which just scrapes in at around 60c royalty for expanded distribution, but I've only ever sold 1 book via expanded distribution, but plenty over the years with Amazon

Shorter books are way off the mark regards Competition.
 

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I sell my paperbacks $12.99 on Amazon and wide. I profit about 50cents to a dollar more than my ebooks priced at $3.99. I sell so few paperbacks, which is why I checked out this thread. My sales have been with either B&N or Amazon, mostly Amazon.

I wish there was a way to promote. I never had any luck with AMS targeted ads. I don't know of any other promo options for paperbacks.

Anyway, I personally chose $12.99, used to be $14.99, because it gives me a royalty close to my ebooks and helps me stay competitive. Sometimes I wonder if it matters. I mean, if someone's willing to spend $12.99, why not $14.99? I dunno.

Interesting, Decon, your point with trad publishers. Seems we're at a big disadvantage as Indies with our POD pricing. This could explain the low sales with many of us (not including those of you who's paperback sales are soaring ... please let me know your secrets).
 

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Don't think she's still on KBoards, but Bards and Sages (Julie) did a fantastic write-up on this subject a few years back:

bardsandsages said:
We actually sell more print with many of our titles than we do ebooks. The print market is a completely different creature than ebooks.

First, print is still sold on the wholesale model. Manufacturers set a retail price, and vendors pay a percentage of the retail. Retailers then can sell the book for any price they want. Indies lose site of this because all of the POD services call their money "royalties." More accurately, POD is more of a consignment deal that a royalty deal. But that is just a matter of semantics. The point is, Unlike ebooks, you don't set the "selling" price. Retailers do.

What indies tend to do is set the retail price of their books to match the Amazon SELLING price of books in their genre. Don't...do...this. Look at the retail prices of the books instead. THAT should be your baseline. You want to set your retail price to match the normal retail pricing for your genre. For example, typical trade paperbacks have a retail price of between $12.99-$16.99, depending on how long they are.

Second, don't bother trying to mimic smaller formats with POD. The mass market paperback size is not cost effective in POD. To understand why, you need to understand the role that size played in print traditionally. Go LOOK at an actual mass market size book compared to a trade paperback or a hardcover. You'll notice two things. One: the covers tend to be index stock, not heavy card stock. Two: the paper tends to be thinning and more like newsprint. Until the rise of ebooks, mass market paperbacks filled the role of ebooks in the marketplace as the "low cost" alternative.

POD services use the same materials for mass market sizes as they do trade sizes, which means you are simply increasing your manufacturing cost for no real benefit. Stick with the trade paperback formats.

Third, on the matter of price and sales. If you price your book correctly, retailers will place it on sale for you. And unlike digital, when a retailer puts a print book on sale, that comes out of their profits, not yours.

Retailers will determine whether to put a book on sale (either individually or including in store-wide promos) based on their profit margin. The profit margin is the difference between the final sale price compared to the cost to purchase the book + its markup. ALL RETAILERS add a markup to the wholesale cost to cover their overhead (rents, utilities, wages, etc). For the sake of discussion, we will set that overhead at $1 per book. We'll assume a standard trade paperback at 200 pages through Createspace as the book. We will also assume a 30% discount to the retailer.

If you set the retail price to $14.99, the retailer pays $10.49 for the book. Through expanded distro, that means $2.74 profit for you. Including the retailers markup, that leave the retailer with $3.50 of room to play. That is plenty of room to include the title in sales promotions, like 10% off deals.

Let's say you decide "I'm going to sell my book cheap to encourage sales!" and price it at $10.99. You make $1.14 per sale. Now the retailer is paying $7.69 for the book. With his overhead, his profit margin is now only $2.30. There is less room for him to play with sales, but still some.

At $8.99, you are only making 34 cents on a sale, but you are hoping to make it up on volume. The problem is that now the vendor is paying $6.29 for the book. Which means, with overhead, there is only a profit margin of $1.70. At that price, it stops being practical including the book in sales. The book won't be included in most sales promotions, and, in the case of brick and mortar stores where shelf space is a premium, it won't even be considered for stock because the profit opportunity in relation to shelf space is too low. Why take up shelf space on a book that makes almost nothing for me when I can stock other titles with high profit potential?

It doesn't help you to price your book low if A. stores won't stock it since they can't make money and B. stores won't include it in their sales promotions because the profit margin is too low.
 

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KevinH, that post is hugely helpful for general pricing choices, thank you! I've never sat down and figured out paperback pricing that way before, but it makes a lot of sense. I'd also never made the connection between mass market paperbacks and ebooks before, but now that I see it, of course ebooks are the new mass market paperbacks! The two serve the exact same function!

Anyway, this prompted me to look at my own paperbacks and do some price adjusting, so thank you again.
 

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Louise Bates said:
KevinH, that post is hugely helpful for general pricing choices, thank you! I've never sat down and figured out paperback pricing that way before, but it makes a lot of sense. I'd also never made the connection between mass market paperbacks and ebooks before, but now that I see it, of course ebooks are the new mass market paperbacks! The two serve the exact same function!

Anyway, this prompted me to look at my own paperbacks and do some price adjusting, so thank you again.
I wish I could take credit, but that was all Bards and Sages (Julie), who was an incredible resource. Regardless, I'm glad it helped.
 
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