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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I published my 4th novel last week - a rather large work for me (160,000) words.

The ebook pricing was easy - $9.99 all the way. I would have went higher were in not for the 70% bracket.

When we uploaded it to Createspace, the news wasn't good. After Amazon and CS took their cut on the trade paperback size, I would actually have to pay for Extended Distributing copies at a $13.99 price point. The book went 480 pages at a 10.5 font.

We reformatted to indented paragraphs without space and reloaded. It didn't help much, taking about 7 pages out.
We then changed to a 6x9 papersize and down to a 10 point font - that helped a little. Still, I had to go with a $14.95 list price to make decent money.

So here's the trap - The work now lists at 314 pages (actually 340). The paperback isn't selling nearly as well as the ebook, which is abnormal for our books. Normally our paperbacks sell 50% of the copies, but with this work its 10%. Readers can't really tell from Amazon's listing how big the book is because they don't pay any attention to the papersize. It probably looks like Joe is trying to get rich - charging so much for his paperback.

We are going to polish up the marketing - use words like "epic," try to steer reviewers to notice the size, etc...etc...

If I had it to do all over again, I would have fluffed out another 40,000 words and went with two separate books. I'm now making the least amount of money per sale on my longest book. It's just the economics of self-publishing.

I'm not complaining - the book has sold over 1,100 copies in its first week...but over the long run it won't be a good money maker for us.
 

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I hear ya, although it's not so painful for me.

I have paperbacks just for price comparison on my book page and so that my mother can have a copy :) The prices for mine are very low ($7.95 and 8.95)

However, I sold 6 copies this month and now I'm thinking "Noooooo, buy the e-book! I make diddly on these titles in paper!"
 
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Have you actually stopped and looked at the retail price of trade paperbacks? I don't know why you think your books are excessively priced.  The typical trade paperback retails for anywhere between $12.99-$19.99. I think people confuse the Amazon sale price for the retail price. You can't price your books based on the Amazon sales price because those prices don't reflect normal market conditions. Look at the retail prices.

And if you price your book at the normal retail prices, retailers will place it on sale. And unlike ebooks, when a retailer sells your book at a discount, you still get paid your normal royalty. Amazon places my print books on sale all the time and I love it. Because I price my book at $14.99, they discount it anywhere fron 10-20% off, but I still get my full royalty.

 

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my ebooks are outselling paper 100 to 1.  I'm sort of at the point where I don't really care if there's a paperback out there or not.  The only reason I will probably keep doing it is so granny can read it and it shows the big discount for ebooks on amazon.  It will probably be the last thing I do when I publish the next one.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Have you actually stopped and looked at the retail price of trade paperbacks? I don't know why you think your books are excessively priced. The typical trade paperback retails for anywhere between $12.99-$19.99. I think people confuse the Amazon sale price for the retail price. You can't price your books based on the Amazon sales price because those prices don't reflect normal market conditions. Look at the retail prices.
This ^^^! Trade paperbacks are priced much higher than mass market paperbacks, and I believe most people realize that who read paperback books. Of course, we've been spoiled by discounts when it comes to paperback and hardback books, so I can see why some people would pause at the price. :)
 
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Jonathan C. Gillespie said:
So I shouldn't be alarmed that, to enable expanded distribution, I have to price the paperback for Revenant Man at like $13.59?
Not only should you not be alarmed, but you should probably price it at $13.99-$14.99 to encourage Amazon to trigger its sales discounting.

The higher price also gives you more wiggle room when you want to offer special discounts to a subscriber list. I do this all the time. I'll create a 20% off coupon to encourage my newsletter subscribers to buy the book direct from the printer. It also lets you sell at a discount at book fairs and conventions and still make a profit.
 

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Jonathan C. Gillespie said:
So I shouldn't be alarmed that, to enable expanded distribution, I have to price the paperback for Revenant Man at like $13.59?
I would never end a price point at .59. I generally always go with the next highest .99 ending, so in your case that would be $13.99, but like Julie says, I might actually do $14.99 to try to trigger discounting. You'll still make the full royalty for a $14.99 book, but the book would be discounted so readers actually buy it.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
The higher price also gives you more wiggle room when you want to offer special discounts to a subscriber list. I do this all the time. I'll create a 20% off coupon to encourage my newsletter subscribers to buy the book direct from the printer. It also lets you sell at a discount at book fairs and conventions and still make a profit.
Thank you (and you other folks, too).

Julie, what do you typically use to create a coupon code?
 

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tensen said:
Strange. For a 480 page trade paperback I would have charged $16.95 or more. Heck we usually use $14.95 for books over 180 pages. That is really normal for trade paperback pricing.
"Normal" for trade paperback pricing really seems to differ by genre, actually. For YA, trade paperback is the standard (you don't ever see mass market paperback -- it's all hardcover and trade), and the books tend to be priced in the $8.99 - $10.99 range. And yes, that's trade paperback.

But for adult fiction, $13.99 to $16.99 is very common.
 
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I think it is also important to understand how the publishing industry uses the different formats to maximize profits. Folks tend to fixate on the pricing of mass market paperbacks, but the mass market format is generally produced at the END of a book's cycle.

Hardcover: this is the big profit margin for a publisher. It is the preferred format for libraries, schools, and other institutions. It is also the preferred format for what would be considered "high investment" readers. i.e. those readers who put a lot of emotional investment into a book. These aren't the folks who read a book every two days and then move on to the next one. These are folks who will spend a week or two savoring a book and possibly want to reread the book down the road.

Trade paperback: generally released simultaneously with the hardcover or shortly thereafter. The trade paperback hits a different demographic. These are fans of the author or people with a high interest in the book who nonetheless are not going to pay $30-$40 for a hardcover.

The mass market paperback is a DISPOSABLE format. Generally, it is designed to pick up the casual reader after the book's main market has been hit. This targets the bargain shoppers who normally use libraries instead of buying books. Or it targets those bargain shoppers who want to read a book after the movie comes out (notice that a lot of re-releases when a movie comes out tend to be in this format). These are what you would call "beach reads" or "popcorn" books for a lot of people. In trade publishing, this format normally has a cheaper grade of paper, flimsier covers, and lower production value.
 
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Jonathan C. Gillespie said:
Thank you (and you other folks, too).

*****, what do you typically use to create a coupon code?
From your Dashboard, select the title you want to promo.

Select "channels."

Underneath where it says Createspace Store, you will see an arrow with the words Discount Codes. Click it.

From there, you first have to create the discount code. Once a code is created, you can reuse it over and over. Create the code, and then assign it to the book. You can offer either a flat dollar value off or a percentage.

Then just give people the link to the book on Createspace and the code. They enter the code at checkout to get the discount.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
"Normal" for trade paperback pricing really seems to differ by genre, actually. For YA, trade paperback is the standard (you don't ever see mass market paperback -- it's all hardcover and trade), and the books tend to be priced in the $8.99 - $10.99 range. And yes, that's trade paperback.
Yes and no. There isn't a whole lot of different among genres. YA is a category, not a genre. However that said, it does price less, but that is as you point out because there isn't a mass market equivalent. YA trade paperbacks are printed in much large quantities than equivalent adult trade paperback, which makes their traditional publishers pricing difficult to match if you are doing it using digital printing technology.
 

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And once again the Writer's Cafe provides a neat little piece of info and counsel. Paperback prices raised, and now I know how to sell at a discount to my fans who want the Paperback on week one while still collecting a higher cut than I'd get through Amazon. Thanks Julie, and everyone else. I'd been despairing over that $0.85 I get through the Expanded Distribution I'd paid $25 to get into. Problem solved.
 

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tensen said:
YA trade paperbacks are printed in much large quantities than equivalent adult trade paperback, which makes their traditional publishers pricing difficult to match if you are doing it using digital printing technology.
Yes, you are right it's a category not a genre. But my point is that if you price your YA trade paperback at $13.99 or higher (like I am hearing here that you should do), then you'll be pricing yourself significantly higher than the traditionally-published equivalents.

FWIW, most indie YAs I know tend to price their POD books in the $8.99-$10.99 range, just like the traditionally-published YA trade paperbacks. Mine is priced at $6.99, but that's because it's pretty short (150 pages printed in book format, although about 180 pages in manuscript format on the computer) and straddles the line between Middle Grade and YA, so I wanted to keep it on the inexpensive side. I make next to nothing on the expanded distribution sales (only 19 cents per copy), but I consider it a marketing expense.

When I release my time travel series, I'll be pricing the print at $9.99, likely.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
From your Dashboard, select the title you want to promo.

Select "channels."

Underneath where it says Createspace Store, you will see an arrow with the words Discount Codes. Click it.

From there, you first have to create the discount code. Once a code is created, you can reuse it over and over. Create the code, and then assign it to the book. You can offer either a flat dollar value off or a percentage.

Then just give people the link to the book on Createspace and the code. They enter the code at checkout to get the discount.
Terrific, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I left one small detail out of my story in the OP.

When we first released the book, I had it at $16.95.

After three days, the eBook had sold more than 500 copies, the paperback only 4.

This ratio is way, way out of line for us. Again, I'm used to a 50/50 split.

I lowered the book to the $14.95 and we started selling about 20 copies per day. I think people look at the page count, but not the page size or font. I could just hear the voices echoing through my CS dashboard - "17 bucks for a short book? No way!"

As of today, the ebook is over 1,000 copies sold, the paperback is at 150. That tells me something is still keeping customers from hitting the checkout button.

 
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Joe_Nobody said:
As of today, the ebook is over 1,000 copies sold, the paperback is at 150. That tells me something is still keeping customers from hitting the checkout button.
Which are you promoting, the ebook or the print book?

If you are primarily marketing online to sites that cater to ebook readers, then by default most of your sales will be ebooks. A lot of my marketing is offline, so I tend to sell more print books than ebooks of certain titles.

If you think about it, it doesn't make sense to think that $16 is "too high" for a print book while charging $9.99 for the ebook. Not in an environment where the average indie is selling at $5 or less. If you can sell 1000 ebook copies at $9.99, PRICE is not your issue. Something else is.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
If you can sell 1000 ebook copies at $9.99, PRICE is not your issue. Something else is.
Joe, when was your last release prior to this one? Was it before or after Christmas?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that perhaps your target audience went digital this holiday? Maybe your readers all got e-readers as presents, either for Christmas or even for Valentine's Day just last week.
 
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