Home » Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Ebooks, Pricing » Start Low, End High – A New Ebook Pricing Model

Start Low, End High – A New Ebook Pricing Model

20 April 2011

A Nathan Bransford post from a couple of days ago that I blogged about here is working because they introduced me to his forums and I checked them out again.

I found an interesting post from a commenter who goes by TracyEWymer. I did a quick Google and think I may have ID’d him as a creative writing teacher and book blogger (link at the end).

Here’s TracyEWymer’s idea:

What if traditional publishers, in order to level the playing field and make their e-books more appealing to consumers, that is–more appealing than the $0.99-$2.99 self-published books, used a graduated price increase. Let’s say all e-books start at $0.99, until the hundredth or thousandth e-book sells–depending on the estimated number of sales, the author, the popularity of the series, etc.–and then when sales hit the target (dare I say, “magic”) number, the price increases to $1.99. After the next hundred of thousand books sell, the price increases from $1.99 to $2.99. Publishers could sustain this model until the price hits the current $9.99, and then cement the price there. Or… publishers don’t stop at the current e-book ceiling. Instead, it takes the price all the way up to $12.99 or $16.99 (the most common price of a juvenile hardcover). I would imagine that sales would decline around the current e-book new release average, $9.99.

. . . .

Well, the goal would be to drive readers to books early and often. There is probably a name for this type of business model, but since I teach English and creative writing and know little to nothing about business models, I’ll leave the naming to someone who knows what he’s (or she’s) talking about. Whatever the name, you’d think this approach would have to create some sort of immediacy in readers.

Take a look at consumerism the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. It’s still the biggest, most successful, shopping day of the year almost every year. Why? Because of limited time only bargains. Half off. Seventy-five percent off. But only for a limited time. People have to take two trips home from Toys R Us because everything doesn’t fit in their van. I’ve seen it happen!

Passive Guy thinks this an interesting promotional idea for somebody who can blast the word out about a book intro in an effective way.

Let’s imagine a new Stephanie Meyer novel, Blood on the Saddle, a vampire western.

The word goes out that the ebook will be available at noon on June 1st at the Kindle and Nook stores. The first 10,000 copies cost 99 cents. The next 10,000 copies cost $1.99, then ramping up in $1.00/10,000 ebook  increments to wherever the final price would be.

What would happen?

  1. The event would generate a lot of free publicity before, during and after the launch date.
    1. Obvious stories would be how fast the Kindle and Nook stores reached every ramp point, ditzy teenagers going crazy at their computers because they got the 99 cent price, etc.
    2. Twitter and Facebook would be Stephanie World for that day.
  2. Blood would be #1 on Amazon on June 2 and stay there for awhile.
  3. A lot of people who never read Stephanie, but thought they might give her a try someday would buy Blood during the price ramp-up.
  4. Because so many people bought early, the word-of-mouth on Blood would hit fast and hard, generating more sales.

While it’s easy to visualize for ebooks, you might be able to do a meatspace analog launch at the same time by giving every Barnes & Noble a set number of books and have them ramp the in-store price up as the books sold. Query whether the BN computer system could handle it, although a different SKU for each price would probably work. Because price is a big part of the ebook story, the hardcopy books would have to hit the same pricepoints.

Stephanie may not need this for a huge launch, but somebody a couple of rungs down on the big author ladder might really benefit. You wouldn’t want to try it unless you were sure you would sell up to list price on the first day or it would backfire.

I wonder how this would work in indie world.

Link to the rest at Nathan Bransford’s Forums

Link to Tracy Edward Wymer’s Blog

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Ebooks, Pricing

2 Comments to “Start Low, End High – A New Ebook Pricing Model”

  1. Curious, too, to see whe this goes. I just purchased an iPad which I
    M finding quite useful, but finding ebooks at a price that might compare to what I would pay for a used paperback is like finding a needle in a haystack (soon to be replaced by the preferred metaphor ‘finding a reasonably priced ebook anywhere online’).

    While I have paid $12.99 for a new release, it’s uncommon and only for authors whose work I’m a diehard fan of. I can count two to three ebooks I’ve bought so far in the past few months. Moreover, both amazon and apple often don’t have the books I want.

    • Visa – Thanks for your comments.

      Do you have the same price issue with Kindle books on the iPad?

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