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How cheap is too cheap?


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Initial post: 26 Mar 2012 15:11:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Mar 2012 15:12:12 BDT
P. J. Taylor says:
I recently published my children's novel, Brian, His Granddad & The Cup of Ages which sold quite well with a few copies being downloaded each week at a price of 1.72.

Then, I tried Amazon's free book promotion offer and within a couple of days my book had been downloaded over 600 times! Ok, it was free during this period but I was hoping that word of mouth afterwards would generate more sales.

I then reduced the price of my book to just 0.93p and since then it's been selling lots of copies every day which is brilliant! Plus I've started to get some independent reviews from the time I used Amazon's free promotion?

So, why is it selling so well now? Is it a combination of the above or is it purely down to price? How much would you pay for a Kindle download? Does cheaper downloads mean an inferior story/writing etc?

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 18:21:11 BDT
hi! Do you think it might be something psychological about being less than a quid? With the average children's comic weighing in at 2.50-3 (or the ones that I buy for my daughter, anyway) 93p for a novel seems very good value, and even if your child didn't like it you've hardly lost anything.

Personally, I wouldn't particularly relate cost with quality on a Kindle, and a cheap price just encourages me to snap up a book on the offchance I'll like it. I might relate cost/quality more strongly with print books though....let's face it, the economics are different, and if I saw a print book at 93p I would assume that it was being sold for pretty much cost price (or even at a loss) and that presumably it had been reduced because nobody wanted to buy it. (We've all seen piles of certain celeb autobiographies in remaindered bookshops for 99p, reduced from 15!)

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 18:50:15 BDT
Frenchie says:
I agree with Rachel on this. I download free and paying books, because some books I want to read happen to be free when I am around, and other times, I have to pay for them, just because I missed the promo. But it does not bother me. My average is usually 3.49 but I am very happy when I can only pay 1.50 or so. My 11 year old reads very fast, so, I am always on the lookout for good books, and when I get a good bargain, it is great. But price will not decide my purchase. I have to say that I am very fussy about what my children read, as I have seen some authors assume that young adults have to speak in slang and do not mind lying and cheating. Which is far from the truth.
To go back to your question, no, I do not think it is only the price. I think that maybe the 14 excellent reviews (5 stars), combined with the low price, are the factor. Also, the synopsis of your book reads well, and I think also, the title is another factor. You see, the fact we have the Grand dad in the title makes it, in my humble opinion, a 'safe, confortable' book. Maybe I am not explaining very well, but it does convey a feeling that children will be ok reading it.
Personnally, I do not download a book just because it is free. I download it because I think my child will like to read it (and me too). I read the synopsis, and I read all the reviews, starting from the less positive to the positive ones. Sometimes, reviews decide my choice. Other times not. And like Rachel, I would not assume a Kindle book is rubbish because it is free or inexpensive. I have downloaded some freebies far better written than some paying ones. If there is no reviews and I like the sound of the book, I will buy it.
Regarding the reviews, I think sometimes it is like the snowball effect. It is not easy to be the first to review a book, but once one has started, others follow.
While dinner is cooking, I am going to start on Brian, His Granddad & The Cup of Ages. I have asked my son to make sure it is the next one he reads.
I am happy to hear that it is selling well. I have always wanted to write, but since I do not have that gift, I concentrate on reading :) and this is my talent.

Posted on 26 Mar 2012 19:22:09 BDT
P. J. Taylor says:
It's difficult to know exactly what factors are involved when an individual downloads a book. What appeals to one person doesn't necessarily appeal to another. But I agree with both of you in a lot of respects. You both (Rachel and French Bookworm) make valid points. It's interesting to hear what motivates you to download a book. I guess it really is a combination of everything, price, reviews, title, cover . . . there is no actual formula.

Again French Bookworm, many thanks for reading my children's novel. Any feedback, good or bad, is always very welcome and if you think that there's anything that could be changed, improved or even removed then I'll be pleased and grateful to hear from you.

Posted on 27 Mar 2012 11:44:32 BDT
Frenchie says:
Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I have started Brian, His Granddad & The Cup of Ages Unfortunately, I was busy last night to read as much as I wanted (kids' homework etc..) but I am at the bit where Brian is going go buy a new school blazer. I have loved it until now (especially the grand parents are hilarious) , I am just curious to know what the big bird was doing with a letter for Granddad and basically, I think this is a book that if you have time, you can read in one reading. My children usually do it and they even read with their flashlights when they think my back is turned. I always catch them anyway. I did not find a link in the paper books, is it only available on Kindle?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 13:26:30 BDT
P. J. Taylor says:
Hi French Bookworm,

I'm very pleased to hear that you're enjoying 'Brian...' The first three chapters are really written to get the reader curious about Brian and his Grandparents and the story really kicks in during Chapter 4. The letter that appears to have been delivered by the raven in Chapter 1 is important and is referred to in later chapters. Although it's the only time an animal/bird delivers anything as I wanted to avoid comparisons with Harry Potter.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2012 13:31:38 BDT
P. J. Taylor says:
Oh, I almost forgot, "Brian..." is only available as an ebook at the moment as I have no idea if it's actually any good or if it will prove popular enough to warrant a paperback. And that's why getting independent feedback is so great. Good or bad it all helps...

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 00:30:30 BDT
I am a new and beloved kindle mother (my kindle is my new baby now my kids are growing up). I would expect to pay less than a book for an author I really liked and already knew. 50% of the hard back for a month or two then paperback price. I would suggest cheaper still for older books (no publishing costs). For a brand new author free is good for a short novella and if I thought the author good would pay more, up to about 50% book price though if I thought the author was still breaking through and the novel might be short would expect to pay less than that. I would expect about 1 to 2 for a good new author, up to 5 for an established author with an excellent reperoire that I would have bought the hard cover book from.

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 16:41:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Mar 2012 16:47:56 BDT
R. J. Davies says:
I know that many wannabe authors sell for the minimum of 77p but the question is, does this carry almost a "stigma" of being exactly that- a new kid on the block? I saw a blog entry recently from George Chedzoy who is a debut children's author, writing in a similarish style to Enid Blyton, and he said he'd put the price of his book up from 77p to 99p simply because it seemed a more "professional" price to charge. He said that the most important thing for a new author was to get sales but because so many books were now priced at the minimum of 77p (75p plus VAT) it was becoming counter-productive to charge at that minimum, or at least it was certainly no advantage to do so.
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Participants:  5
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  26 Mar 2012
Latest post:  29 Mar 2012

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