July 24, 2011

Amazon's payment scale for self-pub authors

The great Moolah.
It's getting close to the time when Xmas Carol will be released to the public. Since I plan to make the book available on Amazon, I went there the other day to check things out. It wasn't what I'd imagined.

If you sell your book for $2.99 or more, you get 70% of the purchase price. But if you sell it for less (I was thinking 99 cents for Xmas Carol) you only get 35% of the purchase price. In other words, Amazon is pushing authors toward the higher price range.

I think books should be as cheap as possible. Authors want people to read them, right? So I like the 99-cent price. It's easy to click "buy" when something is under a buck. The only thing that worries me is that people sometimes view lower-priced items as junk, and treasure expensive things simply because they're expensive. This prejudice is rampant.

I sometimes visit a web site run by an established author who is publishing all his new books digitally (after being published many times in the brick and mortar world). He rails against the terrible deal publishers give authors, and I must say he extinguished any idea I had of going the traditional-publisher route. His take on Amazon's pricing is that it's better to publish at 99 cents because you'll sell many more books and in the end, you'll make more money.

I'm not sure what to do. Should I let Amazon force me into the $2.99 price (and tell myself it fluffs the book up in potential buyers' eyes because they'll see it as having greater quality than the "99-cent junk")? Or should I go with the 99-cent price and the lower remuneration? I'd like reader input on this. Which way do you think I should I go?

1 comment:

Artichoke Annie said...

That's toughie, but if you talk to Kid Rock he would probably have an answer for you.

He wouldn't sign with iTunes because he didn't like their pricing arrangement.

"Trailer-park messiah Kid Rock says he is boycotting iTunes because he believes that artists aren’t compensated fairly.

In an interview with BBC News, he compared today’s artists to those of yesteryear. “Back in the day, we all know the stories of the Otis Reddings and Chuck Berrys and Fats Dominos who never got paid. So the Internet was an opportunity for everyone to be treated fairly, for the consumer to get a fair price, for the artist to be paid fairly, for the record companies to make some money.”

Rock said it "isn’t exactly working."

“It’s based on an old system where iTunes takes the money, the record company takes the money, and they don’t give it to the artists,” he says.

He says he may change his mind about the music behemoth but not any time soon.

“I will be on iTunes eventually, because I can’t avoid it, but I like to always stick to my guns and prove a point and do something original…because I believe in it.”

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So my question would be, can you start at $2.99 and if the sales are terrible...then change to $0.99? Also is there any data on sales at the two different prices?