Book Trailer for Pilikia

Friday, December 23, 2011

Game Face now on Amazon

Game Face is now available on in both the paperback book store and the Kindle store. The paperback price is $9.95 and the ebook price is $2.99.

The Huffington Post recently had an article about e-book prices and the 99¢ controversy. The article is here. The gist of it is that authors cannot make money from the 99¢ price. The problem is that e-books are not cheap to produce. They might be cheaper than paper, but they are not free. The biggest cost is probably the cover, but other costs figure in. The ISBN costs a hundred dollars and if the book comes out in paper, epub (iPad and Nook) and Kindle, it needs three ISBNs for a total of $300.

I had a professional cover design because, frankly, I suck at design. Since I also published each of the stories separately (at 99¢ each) I had covers made for each of them. I included those covers in Game Face as interior art. (The short stories have not been flying off the shelves, by the way) The total cost for the art came to $1,500. I think it was worth it because they look great.

A 99¢ book earns 35¢ in royalties, so the book would have to sell 850 copies just to cover the cost of the ISBNs. When I add up all of the costs of producing Game Face, I would have to sell over 5,400 copies to break even (assuming most of the sales are ebook sales.)

Most ebooks sell around 200 copies, according to the Huffington Post article.

Readers, however, believe ebooks should be cheap. They are not likely to buy an expensive one when there are so many for 99¢. At 99¢, a reader can simply discard a book that sucks.

So, when I figured out the price, I had to find one that would allow a reasonable return on investment but still be low enough to attract readers. I decided that the paperback needed to be under $10. At $9.95, my royalty would be about $2 per book. After some calculation, I discovered that an ebook price of $2.99 would also give me about $2 per book. At that price, I would need to sell only 900 books to break even—far less than the 5,400 under the 99¢ price, but still 4.5 times the average sell rate.  I still have a lot of work ahead to break even, but I think readers will get value for their money.


  1. Kevin R. Tipple said...

    The numbers at 99 cents are depressing.

    While I don't have books to promote and sell, it does remind me of what happens with my wife' craft stuff. If we price it at the real cost to make--supplies plus her time at minimum wage---she would never sell a thing. So, she ends up trying to sell things for slightly more than the cost of supplies used to make the stuffed animal, baby blanket or whatever. Even then, the stuff often does not sell. So, the other day she lowers all her prices again, taking a loss in terms of supplies and time, and still folks don't buy.

    I'm seeing authors doing the same thing selling books for 99 cents or even less.

  2. Helen Ginger said...

    I agree Mark. Readers will get a great set of stories when they buy Game Face. (I'll be reviewing Game Face Thursday on my blog.)

    I'm glad you wrote about the actual costs of producing an e-book. Most readers don't realize what really goes into an e-book. It's not just write the book and stick it up online.