What is the ideal price for a short eBook?

short eBook

45% of short eBook best-sellers (20-100 pages) are priced at $1.99.

Does the price of an eBook single affect its sales?

The short answer: yes, but not as much as you might think. I base this on exclusive analysis (conducted March 3, 2014) of the Kindle Singles best-seller chart. We know that most authors who write eBook singles (20-100 pages) never get accepted into the Kindle Singles program, but analyzing the Kindle Singles best-seller chart is a good way for authors to get guidance on the proper pricing for their work. (We’ve been doing it for a year.)

Here are some of our findings:

Overall, 45% of all Kindle Singles in the top 100 were priced at $1.99, making it the most popular price point. We found that 31% of the top 100 Kindle Singles were priced at 99 cents. And 24% of the best-sellers came in at more than $2.50.

Bullseye, the best-selling Kindle Single over the past month, carries the 99-cent price tag. Among the top 20 best-selling titles, 25% were priced under a dollar. These included Pros and Cons, by Janet Evanovich; An Unexpected Twist, by Andy Borowitz; Lost and Found in Cedar Cover, by Debbie Macomber; and Nikki Finke: The Kindle Single Interview. All Kindle Singles Interviews cost 99 cents and become best-sellers. They benefit greatly from muscular Amazon promotional support. (The Kindle Single interview with President Obama was available for free.)

Three titles in the top 20 cost $2.99 and up: Mile 81, by Stephen King (which was published almost three years ago); Illusions II, by Richard Bach; and Sleep Donation, by Karen Russell, which is priced at $3.99. It’s worth noting that Sleep Donation is only racking up pre-orders now – it’s not available for downloads until March 25 – and it’s already generating plenty of cash and buzz, so the $3.99 price may be a smart move by the publisher Atavist. It’s a haunting story set in the near future when an epidemic sweeps America causing people to lose the ability to sleep.

The 49-page Stephen King/Joe Hill eBook single, In the Tall Grass, was the second most expensive Kindle Single on the list ($3.79). But it doesn’t seem to have blunted its popularity. In the Tall Grass has been a best-seller since it publication date in October 2012. It’s worth noting that another Stephen King/Joe Hill Kindle Single best-seller, Throttle, was priced at only 99 cents.

Our advice to writers: $1.99 is probably the best price point if you’re creating eBook singles.

Raising the price to $2.99 or higher should be carefully considered if your book is 90 pages or longer. And even though a third of eBook single best-sellers come in at 99 cents, based on the information we’re seeing, we would hesitate before advocating that strategy.

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