Wednesday 25 July 2012

Digital book pricing and piracy.

I read with interest a blog about the furore at a recent festival for crime writers. A panel member, who is a highly successful and well thought of self-publisher, put forward a suggestion that selling books at less than a pound was a positive move. An agent commented that she was surprised he was prepared to work for so little, completely missing the point that by pricing the book at £0.99 you are likely to sell 10,000+ copies over the course of year and make more than you would from a traditionally published book. I am certainly making far more money from my KDP books than I've made from any books put out by a publisher.
Other authors have told me that although you sell four times as many books when it's priced in pennies you don't actually make as much money as you do when you price to receive Amazon's 70%  royalties.I'm still experimenting on this one.
The piracy issue is something new to me. When the panel member said  piracy could be beneficial in some cases he was greeted by hisses and boos from the audience. His premise is that people who download pirated books wouldn't have bought his books anyway, but if they enjoy it they might well buy other books written by him.
I'm not sure about this. I've yet to discover any of my titles on one of these sites, but then I have not really looked. I'd be interested to hear your opinions.
Do you think selling a book for less than a pound, or putting it in a free promotion, somehow devalues the work? I certainly don't.
Can piracy possibly be okay? I think when you can download so many titles free, stealing them is not acceptable.


  1. This is so pertinent to me, Fenella - about to launch first ebook and still debating the pricing issue!!! 'Piracy' seems to occur on Smashwords, not Amazon (my agent tells me). I'd love to hear others' views! Annoying article in Sept Good Housekeeping - another 'I just uploaded my book and now I'm making money' . Wish it was that easy! Thanks for this. Timely.

  2. Someone told me to price in the 70% range first then reduce to under pound after the free promotion. Tried it with Bride for a Duke - will see if it makes any difference.
    I had nil success with my YA -let me know how you so and how I can improve the sales for TRUTH (Glimmering). Mind you, you've already got a fan base for YA, as I have for Regency, and this helps.