The Great Ebook Pricing Debate

WITH THE exception of the Oxford comma, how to price your self-published ebook is perhaps the most controversial topic in the world of books and writing. Surely you, as an independent author, should price your book higher than a Starbucks coffee, right? If not, what is the right price?

The answer is simple:

There is no “right” price. There is only the ideal price.

Do you want to sell books or do you want to stand tall and virtuous with misguided principles?

Heads might roll and writers might form a mob and drag me to the pillory, but I’m going to say it. The proper pricing for a self-published ebook is as follows:

$2.99 for novellas and novels.

.99c for shorts.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m a terrible person and I don’t deserve to be loved. But wait a second. Let me explain. Again, it’s super simple.

Let’s say you get a traditional book deal, and the trade paperback of your masterpiece lands on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf at $14.99. What do you think your royalty on that book is?

Probably something like 9%. What is nine percent of fifteen bucks? $1.35

Now compare that to your 70% of a $2.99 ebook. That’s about $2.05 (Amazon charges a couple cents for a transfer fee)

So at $2.99 you’re earning a higher royalty than you would from your traditionally published trade paperback.

It’s not about your book costing as much as a traditionally published book. It’s about getting your book in the hands of readers while earning a reasonable royalty. If you want to sell books, sell them at $2.99. If you want to sell fewer books and make less money, by all means jack up that price yo.

With love,


4 thoughts on “The Great Ebook Pricing Debate

  1. I once saw a Kindle priced at $39. I laughed. Even the insta-classic “The Hate U Give” is only $9.50 on Kindle. We can’t all be the first-chair violin in the orchestra. Most of us sit in the back row puffing on the trombone.

    This advice is perfectly fine. Good job, Tory. I don’t think we should look too hard for justification, though. We price it at what “the market will bear” which has nothing to do with objective reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tory, there is a huge flaw in your reasoning – if I publish with a traditional publisher, they do everything but writing the book. So if I go with them, I don’t have to invest my time and money in anything but writing. The publisher takes care and pays for editing, proofreading, formatting, and designing the book, and then they also take care of and invest in promotion. So I’m free to do other things (such as write a new book) and the whole thing doesn’t cost me a dime. When I self-publish, though, I have to take care and pay for every single thing myself. That’s a whole lot of work and that costs a whole lot of money too. So, no, I cannot in the least agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, but again, unless you have an established audience, you’re going to make more money pricing at $2.99 than you will pricing it higher, generally speaking. There will be exceptions, of course.


  3. I have two books that I published within a month of each other about two years ago, one at $2.99 and one at $3.99. With neither in select, the lower priced one has sold more copies but the higher priced one has made me more money.

    To be honest, though, neither has exactly raked in the dough, so I’m not sure the sample size is large enough to draw any meaningful conclusions.


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