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Will the 99 cent price kill full-priced book sales?

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Showing 1-25 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jan 2012 21:05:28 GMT
Cuddles says:
99 cents seems very low, no? Do people really feel they're getting a good book at 99 cents? Good value, yes, but a good book?

I ask, because my own mystery thriller, Force of Habit: Sister Madeleine Investigates, was priced at $6.99, and doing okay, but is now on offer at 99 cents for a month, and is suddenly selling a lot better. Does that mean that, within a short time, all books are going to be priced at 99 cents?

It's fascinating how the reviews of my book brought some people in (it got called 'dazzling' the MysteryNet review said: "Non-stop action to the very end"), so I thought that would be enough to pull in readers, but ultimately it was the price drop that clinched it.

Should big publishers be worried, I wonder?
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Posted on 2 Jan 2012 21:23:03 GMT
Garscadden says:
Maybe people think your book is only worth 99c? There are plenty of good books that sell at a good price.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2012 22:18:07 GMT
Cuddles says:
It's brand new, so they've not had a chance to evaluate it yet. But I take your point. Mine will go back to $6.99, I should think. It's entirely possible that some utterly awful books will sell at 99 cents because they wouldn't go for any more than that.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2012 22:49:59 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 2 Jan 2012 22:51:55 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2012 22:50:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jan 2012 22:53:15 GMT
Maria says:
Some 99p or less books are really good, others not. It is what I like to pay for a first time for me author, & I will pay more for their others if that one is enjoyable, if not I won't buy any more of theirs at whatever price. Just to add I have downloaded it now-77p here.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2012 23:00:53 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 2 Jan 2012 23:01:36 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2012 23:05:05 GMT
Cuddles says:
Thanks, Maria. That would seem to be good logic. The answer seems to be that this is a new business model, even for bigger publishers, and everyone's feeling their way. Maybe it'll end up a bit like iTunes, where every track is a certain price and it's may the best man/woman/author win.

Posted on 2 Jan 2012 23:13:57 GMT
Lou Eliza says:
I've bought loads of good books, well written with great characters for 99p to 1.50 before and it's my price range. I don't have much disposable income so I buy second-hand if I have to get a paperback.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 00:33:58 GMT
Maria says:
That is something else that has to be taken into account, there are lots of people now who have very limited funds at the moment, & so they watch the pennies far more carefully than maybe they used to.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 05:40:26 GMT
Cuddles says:
I see that. There's also the factor of people taking a risk at 99p on an author they don't know. You'd gamble at that price, but not at $9.99 perhaps.

I wonder if $2.99 sounds like a reasonable price, though. Would someone on a tight budget risk three bucks on a new book? I know I would, but that might not be true for everyone.

Posted on 3 Jan 2012 08:34:58 GMT
Another thing to take into account is the sheer number of books out there. Even within a specific genre, an awful lot of stuff (not a lot of awful stuff, I didn't say that) is now available due to epublishing, self-publishing or whatever. Much of it is good, but much is mediocre and would never have appeared in traditional book form. How do you sort out the wheat from the chaff? A cheap price is an encouragement to take a gamble on an unknown author. I hate to feel that I must finish an uninteresting book because I spent good money on it... life's too short.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 09:48:55 GMT
Maria says:
This is true re. the sheer number of books, much of which would not have made it in the traditional form.As for finishing a boring book- I stopped that years ago when I realised just how many books there were for me to read & that my time was too valuable to waste-I think it is a left over from school days."You must finish that before you can have a new one".

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 12:12:51 GMT
Lou Eliza says:
You download a sample that's how. Samples always have one or two chapters.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 16:14:26 GMT
Cuddles says:
I don't finish boring books either. That's why I try not to write boring books. Because these days, with the sheer number of them around, I feel the author has to earn the right to be read almost.

Prior to Force of Habit, I wrote a non-fiction journalistic travel book called A Little Book About Believing', about a trip I made with a group of cancer patients to Brazil for 'spiritual surgery' with a renowned faith-healer. There's a paperback of that too, but the ebook sells for $6.99. Yet the ebook outsells the paperback by 3 to 1. That's because people learn so much about health and healing from it that they're willing to pay. So price is a factor, but value too.

When it comes to novels, though, you're competing in an entirely different arena. So 99 cents is the initial attraction, and then, as Lou Eliza says below, people read the sample chapters and get drawn in that way. But I still think Force of Habit will go back to $6.99. In the end, doesn't the read value something he or she has paid a reasonable price for?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 17:02:08 GMT
Maria says:
I value the book because it is a good book, the price is secondary to that .

Posted on 3 Jan 2012 19:14:14 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 15 Jan 2012 00:26:29 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 20:36:59 GMT
Cuddles says:
I'm going to have to check that out, Nigel. And of course that's exactly what we're talking about - I'd be willing to try it at 75p almost without thinking, whereas I might not if it were ten quid, for instance, even though it might be worth ten quid or more. You're right, a happy medium with be attained at some point.

The outstanding issue is one of marketing. How did people even know that you were selling your book at 75p? Raising awareness is the key, and I don't think aspect has been solved yet. People I've spoken to are all slowly finding their way. I guess that's what makes it exciting.

Posted on 3 Jan 2012 23:08:54 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 29 Jan 2012 01:08:37 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 23:30:39 GMT
Cuddles says:
Ahhhh, got it. Yes, I understand. I wonder what the threshold is for getting into that hallowed arena of 'also bought'. My strategy was to approach a bunch of review sites and try to squeeze something positive out of them. I'll know in the next couple of weeks if that worked. Awareness is the key. With my 'A Little Book About Believing', the moment people hear about it, they see the value there and buy it almost automatically. With the novel, the competition is so fierce that awareness is not enough. It's awareness, sample chapters, price, and an X-factor.

Posted on 10 Jan 2012 01:04:49 GMT
John Hudson says:
Charles Dickens sold serials; people enjoy their established heroes. It will be clear that a new writer will have to make his initial offering very cheap, maybe half a story but tell us before we begin, then sell us the ending. If we are not hooked we will move on. If we are hooked, and the second half is just as good, the author will get reviews and cutomers for life. The second half should be ready to download before the first half is available. If I cannot get my second half at 3 in the morning when I am in the thrall of the chase, then I shall be annoyed.
I suggest a sale price of 3 for the complete 2 halves at once, or 50p and 5 for the 2 separate instalments. Even if you are rubbish, you will get many sales at 50p, but the satisfaction comes when you turn them into finishers who think 5 is worth it.

Posted on 10 Jan 2012 01:35:30 GMT
Cuddles says:
That is BRILLIANT!!!!

John, I don't know if, aside from Dickens, you're the one to have thought of that, but it's a truly magnificent idea. I shall work on making it happen. Very impressed. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2012 05:48:46 GMT
Garscadden says:
I believe ML Stewart does something like this with 'The Facebook Killer', and it looks like it works quite well.

Posted on 10 Jan 2012 14:35:34 GMT
John Hudson says:
Cuddles, you and anyone else are welcome. I have no stories to tell but can think of ideas. Just ensure you send me the finished books before you place them on sale..(smile)
ahah95 at gmail

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2012 15:53:04 GMT
Cuddles says:
Oh, for sure!! I have two new books just out - Force of Habit: Sister Madeline Investigates - and, quite differently A Little Book About Believing: The Transformative Healing Power of Faitj, Love And Surrender. Both are good, and both could have used that piece of advice about splitting them in two. The next one is out in the Spring, and that one I shall approach with this principle in mind. Thanks again. Excellent idea.

Posted on 10 Jan 2012 19:53:31 GMT
Mary Bale says:
I think folk will buy books at all prices. The publisher marketed books are dearer but many are established, some even well-loved stories. A bit like records and digital download music folk will like to have them in a handy format. I certainly have run out of room for the paper variety. The pevious contributors to this thread have already given good reasons for the cheaper priced e-books.
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Discussion in:  thriller discussion forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  26
Initial post:  2 Jan 2012
Latest post:  10 Jan 2012

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