How to Price Your Ebook in 2023 [Free Ebook Pricing Calculator]
Last updated: January 10, 2023
For an author, writing an entire ebook is often an easier task than answering one question: How much should I sell my ebook for?
And while knowing how to price your ebook is no easy task, it’s not an impossible one either. There are multiple questions that can help guide your ebook pricing strategy and pricing your ebook can boil down to a few key methods.
Whether you choose to host your ebook on your own site (earn more income) or on Amazon under KDP Select as a Kindle ebook will also play a role on your list price. If your new to self publishing, don’t worry, we’ll even include a free ebook pricing calculator later in this article to help you price your ebook at the best royalty rate.
In this article, we’ll share how to price your ebook in 2023.
10 Questions to Answer Before Pricing Your Ebook
The ideal list price for your individual ebook depends on several factors, and considering these ten questions first will put you on the right track.
1. What is your goal?
Yes, your goal is to sell your ebook, but dig a bit deeper.
Is this ebook a free gift for signing up for your newsletter? Is it the first book in a series designed to capture the reader’s attention, so they’ll purchase the rest? Is it the literary masterpiece that you’ve poured your life’s work into, so you expect to get paid for the work you put in? Are you looking to grow your fan base or simply make the highest possible ebook sales?
“My pricing strategy involves a couple of factors, but in general, I look at it through the lens of ‘What is my goal?'” said USA Today bestselling author Elle Cross. “Do I want to increase revenue or do I want to increase my readership?”
With your goal in mind, you can price your ebook accordingly. If, for example, your goal is to grow your readership or get readers hooked on your series, you’ll want to price your book low, such as $0.99, to entice people to buy.
2. What are similar books selling for?
Take a look at how comparable ebooks are priced and get as specific as possible.
First, consider genre. Extensively researched works of nonfiction often cost more than a children’s book, for example. And certain genres, such as romance, are also more likely to be self-published, meaning there’s a lot of competition and a well-established price range.
“For self-published romance books, there is a range from $2.99 to $6.99,” said romance author Sarah Bale. “I usually settle in the middle at $3.99 to $4.99, depending on the book’s length. For novellas, I do $2.99 and $0.99 for reader magnets (works you give away for free in exchange for readers subscribing to your mailing list, for example).”
But don’t look at genre alone — consider other books’ length and format, as well as who the author is. For example, a full-length novel is typically priced higher than a novella, a highly illustrated book may cost more than one that’s just text, and an author with several books under their belt may have a higher price point than a debut author.
Consider how the book was published, as well. A self-published novel isn’t going to fetch the same price as a novel that’s been edited, produced, and marketed by Penguin Random House, for example.
“I look at what other books in the market are priced at to get a starting point,” said author Debbie Burns. ” Then I recommend paying attention to numbers. How high can you go before the increased cost doesn’t compensate for the decrease in buyers?”
Finally, ask yourself how much you’d be willing to pay for such a book and answer honestly.
“I decide on my e-book prices based on what I feel they are worth,” said Payhip user Melissa Raimondi, who sells cookbooks. “I look at how much I would pay for an ebook of similar content and price mine accordingly.”
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3. Where will you sell your ebook?
Consider the marketplace where you plan to sell your ebook. Will you be selling ebooks on your own website only? Will you sell on Payhip, Amazon, Smashwords, or another marketplace? Or will it be for sale on a variety of platforms?
Take a look at how other authors have priced their books on the specific platform you’ll be using.
Also, research any subscription plans or programs that you may opt in to, such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, as this will affect your ebook pricing.
If your goal is to earn the biggest percentage per sale of each book, consider hosting the ebook on your own website using a digital products website builder like Payhip, which only charges a 5% transaction fee on their free plan. This will allow you to earn higher revenue and do it more profitably.
“I write in specific romance subgenres that do well being enrolled in KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited,” Cross said. “Comparable titles in my sub-genre are usually $3.99-4.99. A few titles are $2.99, but those are usually the first book in a series. $2.99 is the lowest price point I can set my book while remaining in the 70% royalty range.”
4. How large is your audience?
Think about your target reader, as well as your own personal readership.
If your ebook is a fictional thriller competing against thousands of other self-published thrillers for a massive audience, you’ll want to price your book fairly low. However, if your book is written for a niche audience — say, a detailed how-to guide on launching a specific type of business — there may be fewer readers; however, they’re likely to pay a higher price to get exactly what they want.
Consider your personal readership as well. Do you have an email list of readers eagerly awaiting your next book that you can market to? If so, your ebook will likely fetch a higher price. But if you’re a debut author whose only guaranteed reader is your mom or spouse, opt for a lower price, so you can attract new readers.
Finally, do you have an author platform? Your platform is essentially your ability to sell your book simply based on who you are or who you can reach.
Are you well known in your field? Do you have thousands of followers on social media? If you have a platform, you have a built-in audience to sell to, so you can price your book higher because your fans are willing to pay to read your ebook.
5. Do you need flexibility in pricing?
If you plan to discount your book or offer it as part of any special deals, it’s important not to price it too low. For example, if you set the price at $0.99, later offering it for 50% off doesn’t make the price much more appealing.
Part of the appeal of ebook pricing is that it’s subject to change. It’s easy to experiment to see which price works best for you. So consider setting a higher list price that’ll allow you to discount the book.
“I tend to price at a point that allows me to discount for sales, and I often group my ebooks into ‘packs’ of several related ebooks,” said Payhip user Ali Luke. “Some authors call these ‘bundles’ or ‘box sets’. That way, I can offer a hefty discount when people buy say four ebooks at once.”
6. What are the royalties percentages?
Books on Amazon vary in royalty percentages, depending on their price. You can choose between a 35% royalty for books under $2.99 and over $9.99. However, books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 will typically get a 70% royalty, unless the book is in the public domain, in which case it’ll be subject to a 35% royalty.
However, if you find those percentages too high, you can sell your ebook on Payhip. On Payhip, you’ll only need to pay a 5% transaction fee, per ebook sold. However, you can also sell supplementary digital products, such as online courses, downloadables, cheat sheets, and more when selling your ebook. So, you can promote more than just your ebook, when selling them on a platform like Payhip while earning more per sale.
7. How big is your niche size?
As you determine the ebook prices you want to set, consider how big your niche is. For example, if you write romance novels and have seen many popular KDP Select books on this topic, you might feel confident having a lower ebook price to get a higher number of overall downloads.
However, if you write ebooks about how to design landing pages for SaaS businesses, there’s likely less demand for that type of ebook, so you might price your ebook on the higher end since it’s hard to find content about that topic. You might sell fewer copies, but you’ll earn more per sale.
8. How many followers or email subscribers do you have?
You’ll want to include the cost of book promotion into your price. Some authors will promote their books via book tours, advertising, or influencer marketing, which can quickly add up in terms of costs. You might decide to try free book promotion strategies.
Alternatively, you can build a personal brand. The more followers or email subscribers you can send a quick post or email to about your new print book or ebook, the lower your book promotion costs will be, allowing you to earn more royalties profitably.
9. How unique is the content?
The lower your Kindle ebook price, typically the more likely the topics will be basic. If your goal is to price your ebook on the higher end, you’ll need to provide lived experience, unique tactics, and solve a burning problem. You can earn more money by ensuring the content in the ebook is unlike anything people have read before.
If you want to sell an ebook, you’ll need to ask yourself, “What is my unique value proposition?” If you’re telling an original story, think of various twists and turns you can share to keep readers on their toes. For authors who are sharing their expert knowledge, consider sharing personal anecdotes about your experience learning that skill that no other ebook talks about. Publishers love unique stories. Fortunately, everyone has one. So share yours!
10. What are you bundling with the ebook?
While pricing your ebook between 2.99 and 9.99 might feel a bit low, consider having an upsell in your ebook to help you generate more overall sales far beyond your ebook price. For instance, throughout your ebook you might do call-outs for cheat sheets or templates that you sell on your website.
At the end of your ebook, you might even recommend an online course you sell where you dive into concepts in more detail. Keep in mind you’ll want to have enticing content to ensure that people are excited to buy your online course with even more tactics.
On Payhip, you can sell any digital products, not just ebooks. So don’t fret if your ebook is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, you could earn a higher amount selling your book and other digital products along with it.
Ebook Pricing Methods to Consider
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when finding the answer to the question, “How much should I sell my ebook for?” But here are three popular choices among ebook authors.
There are a few situations where the best price to charge for your ebook is $0.
- You’re using the book as a reader magnet, or incentive, in your book funnel. (A book funnel is a marketing strategy for authors that generates leads, or potential customers, for your business, even if you’re just in the business of writing books.)
- You’re building a readership.
- It’s the first book in a series that you’ll use to hook readers.
- You’re giving it away in return for reviews.
Selling your ebook for under a dollar is an affordable price that’ll still bring in some revenue. This method of ebook pricing is especially effective in the following situations.
- You’re launching a new series, re-releasing a book with a new cover, or adding a new book to your series and want to entice readers to buy.
- You’re making it available for 99 cents for a brief time to get the book onto a bestseller list.
Pay What You Want
Marketplaces like Payhip also allow you to use pay-what-you-want pricing, a sales technique that lets the buyer decide what they want to pay for your ebook.
The seller can set a minimum or average price, or they can allow prospective customers to truly pay whatever they want for the book — including getting it for free.
Giving away your hard work potentially for free is understandably intimidating, but it can be profitable. In fact, a Payhip survey found that more than 43% of buyers pay above the minimum price set by the seller.
So what are readers forking over for ebooks that use pay-what-you-want pricing? On Payhip, the average price of ebooks sold in this manner was $3.26 in 2019 and $4.43 in 2020.
Ebook Pricing Calculator
Another ebook pricing method is to find an ebook pricing calculator that helps you determine all the variables for setting the right price. Fortunately, we’ve created one that you can use below to help you determine the best price for your ebook based on how much you’d like to earn and other factors.
Ebook Income Goal
Estimated Cost of Ebook Creation
Your Audience Size
Expected Conversion Rate (%)
Does The Ebook Pricing Strategy Change Perceived Value?
A publishing company cares deeply about choosing the right pricing strategy for your book. Publishers can earn a lot of money from selling books priced well. Keep in mind that they often have dedicated people at the publishers who think of all the financial angles of setting the right price, such as genre, platforms it sells on, author clout, and more.
When you price your ebooks, think of all the things that will affect its value. For example, the longer the book the higher the perceived value. Most people buy books based on the cover or title of the book, so hiring a book cover designer will help increase the perceived value instead of designing it yourself. If you have a large follower count or big audience, your clout will also have a perceived value as well.
If you price your book at $60 the perceived value will be much higher than a $2.99 book. So, take into account all aspects that have a positive impact on perceived value, then price your ebook in a way that reflects that value.
Can You Change Your Ebook Pricing Strategy If It Doesn’t Sell Well?
Your pricing page can be updated any time. You don’t need to set a firm price for anything. If you notice your books are priced too high and aren’t selling well, you might lower your price point to attract new readers. Changing your price can reduce your 70% royalty rate down to 35% royalty rate on Amazon, which would mean less money overall.
Do Ebooks Have Delivery Costs?
Unlike print books, ebooks typically don’t have delivery costs. In most cases, ebooks are automatically downloaded to your Kindle device, email address, or your app account.
However, depending on the file size of your ebook and the price you set, there may be a fee on a platform like Amazon. Amazon charges $0.15 per megabyte, if you price your KDP book between $2.99 and $9.99.
To avoid paying ebook delivery costs, you can use a platform like Payhip, where you’ll only pay one fee per transaction, which tends to be much lower than Amazon’s royalties fees.
Experiment with Ebook Pricing
As you can see, there’s no one correct answer to the question, “How much should I sell my ebook for?”
But what’s great about selling ebooks is that you can easily alter the price. That’s why it’s so important to experiment with your ebook pricing and try different price points to determine what works best for you.
However, as you test various prices, keep your goals in mind. If you’re focused on maximizing profits, for example, you’ll want to see how high you can price your book without experiencing a dip in sales. However, if you’re building a readership, the bottom line isn’t as important as the subscriber list you’re building.
If you’re keen to learn more about selling ebooks online, check out our guide on How to Sell Ebooks Online.