Not long ago, I made a detailed blog post about book pricing and the various things you should take into consideration. It covered the age-old question about different pricing strategies and how people can go about pricing their published works. During that time, I had my own decisions to make about one book in particular; I debated whether to raise its price due to its success, or just leave it alone.
This book comprised of multiple erotic stories sold as a package, which I co-wrote with a fellow writer and published on her account for 99 cents.
This bundle offered various benefits right off the bat: The price was virtually affordable by everyone, people would get many all-in-one stories without cluttering their eReader, and they’d save a ton of money without having to purchase each story individually. To top it all off, it had over 15 reviews and the vast majority were overwhelmingly positive.
So after several months of reaching incredible sales figures of 1,800+, we finally figured it wouldn’t hurt to raise the book’s price to something among the lines of $2.99. Theoretically, people would still continue to eat it up thanks to all the aforementioned benefits. If the book happened to fall off the wagon with a higher price point, then we’d simply bring it back down to 99 cents and try to get it to sell again. Moreover, the amount of positive reviews would also help it rank again over time. Its sales rank at 99 cents was between #1,400 and #1,800.
All in all, we wondered whether to raise its price, and all signs clearly pointed to Yes.
While at 99 cents, the bundle consistently made over $650 per month, an astonishing figure considering it only took 30 minutes to stack up every story in Microsoft Word and publish them as a compilation. At $2.99, the bundle would potentially bring over $3,700 every single month, so we absolutely needed to play with fire and raise the price.
And so we did. The bundle remained at $2.99 throughout the month of March.
People were initially biting and buying for the first couple of days, and I was thrilled. Sadly, reality slowly kicked in and the book began to lose its sales rank. People were buying fewer copies each week, despite the book offering all these great benefits. Its sales rank quickly went up to #3,000, followed by #5,000, until it finally went over #13,000 toward the end of the month (sometimes fluctuating inconsistently.)
At this point, it was pretty clear that the bundle would not make the $3,700 per month we so highly hoped for. At the end of the month, we finally decided to bring the price back down to 99 cents, as there was no telling how much higher the sales rank would climb.
This quick and disappointing experiment obviously didn’t yield the results we looked for. Additionally, I noticed certain things about the benefits previously mentioned:
Just because your book contains over a dozen positive reviews, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s immune from falling into the depths of Sales Rank Hell.
It appears that people are a tad spoiled, or they generally give book bundles a lower-perceived value. After all, what’s to stop someone from thinking, “So many stories for such a low price? They have to be awful.”
Maybe the stories are not drastically interesting, and many were buying the bundle merely due to its lower price.
Just to emphasize on my second point above, people would still save plenty of cash at $2.99, considering each story sells for either 99 cents or $2.99 individually. Then again, perhaps the eye candy relied more on the price rather than the themes and plots. For those who may not know or remember, most of these stories comprise of step-daughters having intimate relationships with their step-fathers. I admit that the bundle does lack diversity, so that could be hurting its overall sales at $2.99.
Whatever the case may be, the book is now back at 99 cents as of April 2013, and its sales rank is slowly recuperating. I am now in the process of applying the usual techniques I typically follow to help my books rank. The question is: Will it ever reach its former sales rank of #1,400? Only time will tell.
What Would You Do?
Would you ever play with different price points if your book was already earning you hundreds of dollars each month?