E-book pricing poll

My question is: How much are you willing to pay for an e-book?

WRITERS, this is not a question of how much will you price your books. I want you to answer the question as readers. READERS, how much would/will you pay for an e-book?

At the right sidebar, you’ll find the poll ——————–>


Seeing as I love to over explain everything, here I go …

Nathan Bransford had a poll on his blog about the price of e-book based on the hardcover price. Here are the results.

My poll is different because I don’t want you to consider hardcover price. Lately, many small presses and indie authors don’t have hardcovers out there, only e-books and POD paperback. For those who don’t know, POD means Print On Demand, which means the book (paperback usually) is only printed when bought by a reader and in the quantity bought.

I also found this poll on David Maine’s blog. He asks how much you would pay for the e-book of an author you never read before, which is somewhat like what I’m asking.

The writing/publishing market changed SO MUCH during the last 2 years. I’m doing this poll more out of curiosity  to see where readers stand now.

Let’s take me, as reader, in consideration (the following are thoughts of mine that may or may not be correlated):

  • In August, Richelle Mead will have 2 books out. Their e-prices are $9.99 and $10.99. In November, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini will be released. It’s kindle price is $13.99. I’ll buy these 3 books because I’m a huge fan of Mead and Paolini, but I’m not happy about the price their books are set.
  • The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa is priced around $6-$8 … a much more interesting price range, though it still isn’t comparable to indie books priced around $0.99-$2.99. Also, I think The Iron Knight, the next on the series, will be around $10. I’ll buy it, because I love the series, but I would rather it was priced like the previous ones.
  • The Hunger Games, a very famous series, is priced between $4.70 and $7.70 … I like the pricing here.
  • I’ve read several books priced at $0.99 and $2.99 but most were recommended or from authors I had heard/knew about … when it’s from a brand new author, with not many reviews to let me know if people are liking or hating it, I don’t buy. Nor yet, at least.
  • Some small presses (most are digital-first) are pricing their books around $8-$9 and they have a lot of debut authors. Would I pay $8 for an author I don’t know? I’m not sure. Probably not. I would have to read tons of great reviews or receive a direct recommendation of someone I know, and I would still think a hundred times before considering it.
  • About 2 months ago, a friend asked me suggestions for a few books on the genre she likes. I gave her a huge list, and soon she came back to me complaining that some books were more expensive on e-book format than on paperback. She gave up buying them.
  • I read an interview with Angela James (Executive Editor of Carina Press) where she states “the company found that at $6.99, the books no longer sell.” So, if that’s true, then why the Big Six price their book almost twice that price line? I don’t get it.

As a writer, I wouldn’t like to have my books out for over $7, I think. And perhaps even $7 is too high these days. If I ever self-publish, I’ll probably price my books around $0.99-$2.99. But what if I don’t go indie? Will my books be read/bought if their prices are not that cheap?

To me, readers are more important than money (very interesting article on the topic here), but writing is also my job.

What do you have to say about e-book pricing, as a readers and/or a writer?


14 Responses to E-book pricing poll

  • Superfab post and poll, Juliana!

    I can’t wait to see your results!!!

  • I answered the poll with “up to $5” but the truth is that it totally depends on whether I’m already familiar with the author. If it’s an author I know and love/like, I’m perfectly willing to go up to $7 (or even higher for someone like Lisa Kleypas, Loretta Chase, Ilona Andrews or Patricia Briggs). However, if the author is unknown to me, $4 or so is my limit, maybe $5 if I love the blurb, love the sample, and get a strong recommendation from someone I trust. Samhain and Carina seem to have a good handle on their pricing and present a quality product. I buy lots of books from them.

    • I totally agree with you!
      Carina and Samhain are doing a good job on pricing so far.
      And the known/unkown author seems to be very relevant on how much we are willing to pay.
      Thanks =)

    • I completely agree with JenM. It has to be an author I know and *love* to go over the $5 limit, especially if the paperback is close in price. I use recommendations from friends to decide what to buy.

      I find I’m also less forgiving with ebooks than with print books. If I’ve paid $1-3 for a book on my Kindle and it doesn’t interest me quickly, I move on. I have a much harder time moving on when I’m holding a print book.

      Nice analysis, Juliana.

  • It’s definitely an interesting poll! I constantly find myself debating about buying a “kindle book” sometimes the price seems fair but a lot of times it doesn’t. A couple of months ago I wanted to get a few books on kindle but they’re so expensive that I decided to get them at my local library (yes, a lot of people still do that), although, I was the 18th on a waiting list. I also don’t believe in the so called “indie” author who publishes an e-book for $0.99 and consecutive work for $9.99. I think you need to find your value and is understandable to underprice for advertisement purposes but also because is the first and as you grow as a professional writer so will the price ;p

    • Hello there, my good friend!
      Yes, some indie authors do tend to be inconsistent on their pricing, though the price for the traditional published authors is set by the publishing house they signed with and, unfortunately, they don’t have a say in the matter.

  • anything more than $7.99 will have to wait until the library offers Kindle books.

    • Quite interesting, another one who still goes to the library. Good for you!

      $7.99 is an awfully high price for e-books, isn’t it? I’m willing to pay for it if I’m a fan of the author, but not for a debut I don’t know anything about.

      • I think pJ Schott might be referring to electronic public libraries. Back when Nook and Kindle come out the only plus Nook had over Kindle was the ability to access public libraries and get “available” e-books for free as if lending physical copies. I got excited about this only to see that most libraries I go to didn’t have such a great e-book collection if any in some cases. Hopefully public libraries will increase their electronic catalog.

  • BTW guys, Carina Press has a similar post today on their blog. Coincidence, I swear!
    However, they don’t have a poll. To answer, you have to leave a comment. Here is the link: http://carinapress.com/blog/2011/07/you-tell-us-what-should-a-digital-book-be-priced/


  • Hy darlyng! I’m so proud of you, that I would abble to pay any price for your books!!!! Love you Juju!!!! Kisses! (please, forgive my english mistakes) heheheh

  • I also answered with up to $5. But as JenM said, it depends on the author. For unknown (to me) authors or authors who’s work I enjoy but don’t luuuuuurv, I’ll pay up to $3. For authors I know and luuuuuurv, up to $5. :-)

Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

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