This is a question that I am sure greater minds than I are pondering.With a paperback or hard cover book, prices are relative to what you feel in your hands. Simple logic in this regard is that the heavier the book, the more expensive it is. So everyone has been pretty happy with this formula for centuries and happily shell out far more for a 500 page hard cover book than a 140 page ‘airport express’ paperback.

With an e-book though, this formula goes straight out the window. An e-book is an e-book is an e-book. So no matter what the quantity of words, there is a perceived price ceiling. My guess is that the upper price limit is around $6.00. Or in e-book speak, $5.99 to be precise. At the other end of the e-book price scale is the newly invented book price. Absolutely free.

In doing a little research for this blog post, I came across something I hadn’t really considered before. Comparing the estimated word count of e-books with their price. What I found was that this has no relevance to the price whatsoever. Fiction novels of around 35,000 words were priced about the same as those of 100,000 or more words. So I came to a cunning conclusion.

From now on, I am going to write very short e-books and very long real books. Or perhaps cut my long book into three or four volumes for e-book distribution and call them a trilogy. As I would have no hope of selling my full book as an e-book for $6.00, I am sure after chopping it in three I could sell each third for $1.99.

Or, why not six parts at $0.99?


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What Is An E-Book Worth?
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8 thoughts on “What Is An E-Book Worth?

  • 08/12/2010 at 7:07 pm

    I have to admit that I've wondered the same thing. How about serialising by the chapter in the 20-30 cent range? 20 cents per chapter for a 30 chapter book would get you $6.

  • 08/12/2010 at 8:58 pm

    Your arithmetic is sound, but you forgot one other thing: how many copies of your book or e-book you sell is a much more important number.

  • 09/12/2010 at 5:48 am


    Don't laugh, but I think you probably could do just that.

    Search for an author called Zoe Winters on Amazon. Her first three ebooks were novellas, which she combined into a novel called "Blood Lust". She started out selling the novellas for $0.99 each and has done quite well for herself.

    Essentially, she's taken your proposal and reversed it. :) Far as I can see, there's no reason you can't turn your longer work into a trilogy (depending on whether your story arc allows this, of course).

    You could price each part anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99 per book. (In the U.S., the $2.99 price is popular, because you get a 70% royalty. Not sure that's true outside the U.S. In any case, the lower you price your book, the more books you'll sell. Believe me. I've sold almost 10,900 ebooks through low pricing strategy. It works.)

  • 09/12/2010 at 10:59 am

    Ebook, shmeebook. Derek, I'm just extremely greatful when someone buys a copy of my book, whether it is the paperback version, or the Kindle. :)

  • 16/05/2011 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for the contemplation and sharing.
    There is certainly something to it, and although I will apply this I will also apply the gonzo pricing strategy of I do this for fun so I will be willy nilly silly about the whole thing.
    100 dollars for a page and a dollar for a 1000 pages.


    Along with a generous dose of practical pricing on practical writing.

  • 31/05/2011 at 1:43 pm


    We think we hit on the perfect price point for our debut crime thriller of 120,000 words.


    Now that might seem cheap, but after much tinkering, it got us in the top 5 on Amazon UK (where we have been for over two months now) and has sold us in excess of 50,000 copies since January.

    Would that have happened at a higher price?

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