The last time I wrote about book pricing, I focused on my ebook strategy. Now I’d like to supplement that with the addition of paperbacks.
A little background for you.
When I first decided to self-publish (Almost) Average Anthology, it was an experiment of sorts. So many people were publishing their own work and it seemed easy. Never having tried it before, I figured I’d give it a shot. I had four novels written but didn’t think I could edit them well enough to release them. However, I did have a nice back catalog of flash fiction stories I felt I could edit myself and release them as a book. I used this opportunity to find out what I could do on my own with little to no cost.
The process went smooth enough. But then days after the release of my ebook, a friend of mine said he’d buy a copy but not an ebook since he doesn’t read books digitally. I’d had previous experience with CreateSpace from a NaNoWriMo “win” where I won up to five free paperback copies that I figured, what the heck, why not. There’s no set-up charge. The only fee is the cost of the book and shipping. I spent an entire Saturday reformatting my ebook for a paperback and by the following Thursday I held the very first proof copy of my book.
I found some errors and fixed them, ordered another proof copy, and then approved my paperback print on demand (or POD) book. I had a physical copy of my book!
Now, there’s nothing greater than seeing your work in a physical form. To hold a book written by yourself with a custom cover is an awesome feeling. It also opened a ton of doors for me.
Because I had an actual book, people wanted to buy it from me so I could sign it. Family and friends showed a ton of support for me. I was also able to go to book signings and events. The first book event I attended was the St. Louis Indie Book Fair and later Con-Tamination, a sci-fi/horror/pop culture convention. I met other authors who’ve been super helpful to me and opened doors allowing me to attend other events with larger audiences.
All because I made a physical copy of my book.
Now to turn back to the pricing aspect of this, let me explain my process and conclusion.
By creating a higher priced POD book, it makes my ebook look much more attractive. Of course I’d love to sell a ton of paperback copies, but realistically, ebooks are by far the best selling versions. When a potential reader sees my book on Amazon, they see a box telling them how much they save by ordering the ebook. I’m good with that. Having a paperback copy allows the reader to feel like they’re saving money, which they are.
I also price my POD books slightly higher online than when I’m at a con or event. The reason is simple. I want potential readers to get a bargain from me in person and I’ll sign it for them. I want to give them some enticement for ordering from me right then and there.
As of this post, the paperback price online for my two collections of short stories are $10 each and my novel is $12. At events, I drop those to $8 and $10 respectively (with the added bonus of a free t-shirt if they buy all three!)
Compared to similar books, my prices are fair. I’d pay that for something like my books and as I mentioned in my last post, if I’m not willing to pay a certain price for something, I would never expect buyers to pay it. My costs have risen as I’ve added professional editing and custom art for my covers, but I’m already paying that for the ebooks, so why not add the paperback to the mix?
Paperback copies of your books are an excellent add-on to your overall strategy. They give readers buying choices and allows you to attend events, book signings, cons, and other opportunities where you can sell physical copies of your books to the reading public. With CreateSpace, you can also offer readers who buy your physical book online the opportunity to get the matching ebook for free, and who doesn’t like free?
I suggest you price them fairly with the end result of enticing readers to pick up the ebook. Of course, you may not want that in which case, disregard everything I’ve said!
What’s your strategy? Do you even offer POD books? Good luck and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.