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Publetariat Dispatch: Fiction vs. Nonfiction Ebook Pricing in the Kindle Store

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
This week, the folks at Publetariat bring us a post from Joel Friedlander, AKA The Book Designer, on the topic of ebook pricing. Why does fiction generally cost less than nonfiction, and is that okay?

Pricing of e-books is a constant source of discussion online, and we’ve seen the rebellions in the Kindle store when publishers were allowed to start setting their own prices last year.

Some books went up in price, as traditional publishers tried to bring e-book pricing more in line with print book pricing. On the other hand, readers keep looking at the lack of reproduction costs in e-books and often moved to lower-priced alternatives.

Three other factors that seem to be driving the instability of the e-book pricing situation:

  1. The tremendous increase in the volume of sales as the price declines toward $0.99, the lowest price (other than free) in the Kindle store; 
  2. The shift of royalty payements, which are 70% for books above $2.99, and 30% for books below that price; and 
  3. The ease of changing prices on your Kindle books, combined with the ease of tracking your sales on a daily basis.

To get an idea of where pricing is today, I went over to the Kindle store to have a look around.

Amazon says there are 659,063 nonfiction books in the Kindle store. I took a look at just the top 10 best sellers as of yesterday to see what the pricing looked like. Here’s what I found:

Top 10 Nonfiction Full-Length Kindle e-Books

  1. $6.13 Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent,
  2. $12.99 Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand,
  3. $11.99 The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno,
  4. $9.99 Be a Dividend Millionaire by Paul Rubillo,
  5. $9.99 Allies and Enemiesby Anne Maczulak,
  6. $12.99 The Dukan Diet by Pierre Dukan,
  7. $9.99 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot,
  8. $9.99 Winners Never Cheat by Jon M. Huntsman and Glenn Beck,
  9. $9.99 Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard,
  10. $9.99 The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James,

The average price of these e-books is $10.40. None of these e-books is self-published, by the way.

Then I went to look at the fiction titles, since this is the land of the $.99 bestseller. Here’s the way the top 10 look, pricewise:

Top 10 Fiction Full-Length Kindle e-Books

Amazon reports they have 267,838 fiction e-books in the Kindle store:

  1. $4.17 Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  2. $7.99 The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel by Michael Connelly
  3. $9.99 Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan
  4. $3.82 A World I Never Made by James Lepore
  5. $9.59 Divine by Karen Kingsbury
  6. $0.99 The Innocent by Vincent Zandri
  7. $0.99 Vegas Moon (A Donovan Creed Novel) by John Locke
  8. $7.99 Shattered: A Daughter’s Regret by Melody Carlson
  9. $4.58 Deadworld by J.N. Duncan
  10. $12.99 The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

The average price of these books is $6.31.

This means that the average fiction e-book that’s in the top 10 in the Kindle store is retailing for a full 40% less than the average top-10 nonfiction e-book. That’s a huge hunk of change.

Does this mean it’s better to be a nonfiction author, if making money is your aim?

Yes, it does. Self-publishing has traditionally worked best for nonfiction authors with solid information-based books. There is no disputing that a new world of bookselling is upon us, and all the old rules will be scrapped or at least reexamined in the light of new realities.

Are we seeing a rebirth in fiction reading, arising from the easy availability of inexpensive novels? From anecdotal evidence, it seems so, and that is certainly a good thing.

What Price is Right For You?

I think there’s no formula that will help you set your prices. If you’re a novelist, by all means keep track of the experiments of authors like JA Konrath and Zoe Winters and Joanna Penn, you’ll learn a lot.

But this seems to be an area where you have to be willing to experiment to find the right spot for your books. Many novelists have reported selling more and more copies as they gradually lowered their price, to the point that giving up the 70% royalty, when you go below $2.99, just didn’t matter as much as the volume of sales rose. As Konrath says about his title The List, when he lowered the price from $2.99 to $0.99, he sold 20 times as many books.

Here’s what Joanna Penn had to say in her recent article on the e-book pricing situation. Joanna publishes both nonfiction and fiction, so it’s interesting to get her perspective:

I pay far more money for non-fiction books that will help me in a tangible manner than I will for fiction which I read once and then (often) forget. It’s not that I don’t value fiction writing, but the price you pay for entertainment has to be representative vs the price you pay for actionable content.

The answer? Since we are all, in a sense, direct marketers now, we should take a lesson from the direct marketing world: test everything, track the results, adjust your pricing if necessary, and test again. You will become an expert on your own book’s pricing, and this experience will be invaluable as you continue to bring more books to market.

I took this all into account when setting the price of A Self-Publisher’s Companion in the Kindle store at $8.99. Is it the right price? I’m not sure, since the book has been out just a few weeks. Will I experiment with the price? You bet I will, just like all you other direct marketers.

What have your experiences with e-book pricing taught you?

This is a reprint from Joel Friedlander‘s The Book Designer.

KND Kindle Free Book Alert, Tuesday, May 31: Over 500 Kindle Freebies for You! plus … A love story at the crossroads of small town and suspense: Nancy Naigle’s Sweet Tea and Secrets (Today’s Sponsor)

Summertime, and the reading is easy with over 500 Kindle Free Book Alert listings and a chance to be the first to discover and review a great new love story just released by today’s sponsor….

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor

Pearl Clemmons has died, but her past returns to haunt her granddaughter Jill’s future…

A love story at the crossroads of small town and suspense.

Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

Here’s the set-up:

Adams Grove is mourning the loss of Pearl Clemmons, known for her award-winning chocolate pecan pie and the best unsolicited advice in the county.

When Jill returns to settle her grandmother’s estate, she’s greeted by a Clydesdale-sized guardian dog who doesn’t seem to be earning his stripes (although he drools on them pretty well), and Garrett Malloy, the ex-fiancé she left behind a year ago.

Jill insists on staying at Pearl’s amidst a string of break-ins that have sleepy Adams Grove wide awake and locking its doors. Jill’s past with Garrett becomes the least of her worries when she learns that their lives are in danger. She is the only person standing between a desperate conman and a secret from Pearl’s past.

Will Pearl’s past kill any chance of Jill and Garrett’s future together?


About the Author

Nancy writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. Writing the kind of stories she likes to read, Nancy hopes that you will find an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make believe worlds she creates.

Her short story, FOREVER IN MY HEART, is set in the fictional small town of Adams Grove, Virginia, and included in the anthology, BE MINE, VALENTINE.

Nancy’s debut Novel, SWEET TEA AND SECRETS, is also set in Adams Grove. It is available in print and eformats.

For more information visit, www.NancyNaigle.com
I’d love to see you on facebook and on twitter @nancynaigle.

Click here to download Sweet Tea and Secrets (An Adams Grove Novel) (or a free sample) to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android-compatible, PC or Mac and start reading within 60 seconds!

UK CUSTOMERS: Click on the title below to download

Each day’s list is sponsored by one paid title. We encourage you to support our sponsors and thank you for considering them.
Authors, Publishers, iPad Accessory Manufacturers:
Interested in learning more about sponsorship? Just click on this link for more information.

Kindle eBook of the Day: Think “the Rachel Zoe Project meets Bond, James Bond” with a Madoff-style, Ponzi-scheming King as romantic comedy author D.D. Scott turns to crime with Thug Guard (a Cozy Cash Mystery)!

Three straight 5 star reviews and just 99 cents for a limited time on Kindle! Here’s the set-up for D.D. Scott’s Thug Guard:

Amazon Top-Rated and Bestselling Romantic Comedy Author D. D. Scott is gettin’ “cozy” with all your fave Bootscootin’ Books Characters.with Book One of her new Cozy Cash Mysteries.Think The Rachel Zoe Project meets Bond, James Bond and a Madoff-style, Ponzi-scheming King.

Hollywood Stylist to The Stars Zoey Witherspoon is a wanna-be Stephanie Plum, and to that end, she’s now moonlighting as a badge-toting P.I. But on her way to style one of her infamously diva-esque clients, she discovers her first Dead Guy in a Range Rover parked next to her. And this isn’t just any dead guy. It’s the guy with a Russian mob connection, who her former client, King Bernard McCall, hired to knock her off.

Bond, James Bond-style Double Agent Roman Bellesconi is hell-bent on bringing down Ponzi-scheming King Bernard McCall. Why? Because (1) that’s his job. But also because (2) he’s got a lot more at stake than job security. If he doesn’t bring down Bernie, his family’s monarchy will be destroyed.

As the dead guys keep piling-up around ‘em, Zoey may be damn sick of Roman’s deep and very dark secrets, but, she’s also convinced that perhaps, like Roman’s been reiterating, it’s only because he’s keeping those secrets that they’re both still alive. 

But is there a way for their cover to be blown, Roman’s secrets thus revealed, and each of ‘em live to tell about it? 

From the reviewers:


“Wow! I loved this…The descriptions are so vivid and colorful it really feels like the reader’s going through the same wild rollercoaster ride…It’s a funny, sexy, sassy attitude of a read, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the next one.” — Sibel Hodge, author of The Amber Fox Mysteries

“I laughed from page one on…The author has a way with twisting phrases. Bootscootin’ was a delight. I’m loading up on her other books. She’s a shoe-in for one of my favorite chicklit authors.” — Barbara Silkstone, author of The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland Age 42 and Three-Quarters

“Are you ready for a really fun read? I hope so…So sit back and get ready to laugh.” — Karen Cantwell, author of Take The Monkeys and Run

“…who doesn’t need a laugh? Laugh ‘til you (you fill it in) with D. D. Scott’s BOOTSCOOTIN’ BLAHNIKS, and more…” — Steve Windwalker, Kindle Nation Daily
D. D. Scott is a Bestselling Romantic Comedy Author and a Writer’s Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy, plus the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of MUSE THERAPY: UNLEASHING YOUR INNER SYBIL and the co-founder of The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, your destination site for Everything E-Publishing.

Her bestselling and Amazon top-rated romantic comedies are all about sexy, sassy, smart, career-driven women and the men who complete them. They’re a bit chick lit with a gone-country twist…and now a cozy mystery twist too.

She’s agented, and her Bootscootin’ Books Series – think Sex and The City meets Urban Cowboy – debuted August 2010, on Amazon’s Kindle and at Smashwords, with BOOTSCOOTIN’ BLAHNIKS, followed by STOMPIN’ ON STETSONS and BUCKLES ME BABY. Now, The Bootscootin’ Characters are gettin’ “cozy”…as in Cozy Mystery cozy, with the release of THUG GUARD, Book One of the her new, Cozy Cash Mysteries, featuring all of your fave Bootscootin’ characters plus tons of quirky, new characters too.

D. D.’s busy now writing her next Cozy “Cash” Mystery – LIP GLOCK.

And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample:


KND Kindle Free Book Alert, Monday, May 30: SIX (6) MORE BRAND NEW FREEBIES! plus … The unofficial beginning of summer is the perfect time for Laura Katleman-Prue’s SKINNY THINKING series (Today’s Sponsor)

SIX MORE BRAND NEW FREE BOOKS THIS MORNING! So there’s no need to carry a satchel full o’ books to the beach this summer! Just bring your Kindle, loaded with all the great reads from our sponsors and each morning’s latest additions to our 500+ Kindle Free Book Alert listings….

But first, a word from … Today’s Sponsor

Following on her best-selling Skinny Thinking, Laura Katleman-Prue has come up with this essential guide especially for men, now available for only 99 cents.

Laura Katleman-Prue “discovered that the root of her problem was the way she thought about food.”

Skinny Thinking For Men 
by Laura Katleman-Prue
Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

Here’s the set-up:
Skinny Thinking For Men is the men’s version of the bestselling book, Skinny Thinking. It addresses how men relate to and think about food and gives them indispensable tools to end their weight struggles forever.

About the Author

Skinny Thinking grew out of Laura Katleman-Prue’s desire to heal the eating, weight, and body image issues that plagued her for 35 years. She discovered that the root of her problem was the way she thought about food. In fact, changing her diet was irrelevant, if she didn’t change her thinking habits. By teaching herself to go on a “thought diet” and transform her relationship with food, she experienced permanent healing. This healing motivated her to write Skinny Thinking and to lead Skinny Thinking Workshops in order to help others heal their eating issues as well.

Laura attended Pomona College and pursued graduate studies in Marketing at Boston College. In 1980, she founded the Boston Brownie Company Inc. with retail and wholesale distribution in 2,000 stores in 14 states along the eastern seaboard.
In 1992, Laura completed coursework at Lesley University in Counseling Psychology. That same year, she received a Certification in Transpersonal Psychology from the Theravision Institute. A long-time meditator, she has been teaching meditation and self-inquiry for the past four years. She began teaching Skinny Thinking Workshops in 2009.

Click here to download Skinny Thinking For Men (or a free sample) to your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, Android-compatible, PC or Mac and start reading within 60 seconds!

UK CUSTOMERS: Click on the title below to download
Each day’s list is sponsored by one paid title. We encourage you to support our sponsors and thank you for considering them.
Authors, Publishers, iPad Accessory Manufacturers:
Interested in learning more about sponsorship? Just click on this link for more information.

Free Contemporary Titles in the Kindle Store 

Just use the slider at right of your screen below to scroll through a complete, updated list of free contemporary Kindle titles, and click on an icon like this one (at right) to read a free sample right here in your browser! Titles are sorted in reverse chronological order so you can easily see new freebies.

Sarah Brightman’s Life Will Never Be the Same in Our Kindle eBook of the Day, S.J. Wright’s The Vampire’s Warden – Just 99 Cents, and Here’s a Free Sample

Sarah had read grandfather’s journal in stunned disbelief. But now, a vampire stood a foot away from her. What was once grandfather’s responsibility has passed to her father and now to her. She has become the Warden. Her life will never be the same.

Sarah has spent her whole life believing that her mother had died in a car accident. When her father passes away and leaves her to run the family-owned Woodhaven Inn, she finds out that the Inn isn’t the only thing she’s about to inherit. Her life is about to get very complicated.

It was a flash in the moonlight, a blur of motion like she’d never witnessed before. No human had the capacity to move like that. When she found herself face-to-face with him there in the meadow, she knew without a doubt that the journal was authentic. She knew that  grandfather hadn’t been crazy at all.

Because a foot away stood a vampire.

Sarah had read grandfather’s journal in stunned disbelief. What was once grandfather’s responsibility has passed to her father and now to her. She has become the Warden. Her life will never be the same.

From the reviewers:

Totally amazing!  I read this book in one day! I couldn’t get enough of the story! I got to the last page and wanted more! Can’t wait for the next book!

To say I liked this book would be an understatement! I loved this book! Not only is it suspenseful, it is romantic with a dark twist. Comparable to the Twilight series, Vampire’s Warden is a must read! An explicit start to an exciting series. Can’t wait for the next book to come out!

Have read the Twilight Series and this is rated almost as good as it.

S.J. Wright is an up and coming new author who has written a book that pushes into an area where few dare to go in her diversion from the norm of what is and isn’t acceptable with regard to the characteristics of vampires. Her inclusion of the ‘watcher’ or ‘warden’ is also an interesting twist.

Ms. Wright is an author to watch. She tells the vampire story from a fresh perspective–that of a heroine who’s got what it takes to handle not only the undead, but the criminally undead. There are some flaws, but they’re easily overlooked by the reader who likes a page turner.

I lost some sleep over this book, preferring to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to find out what happened. I can’t recommend it enough!

The unconventional spin on a traditionally overdone topic refreshes it and makes it into something new.

S.J. Wright is a stay-at-home married Mom with two boys, an overworked husband and a very devoted Jack Russell terrier named Shelby.

And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample:

Our Kindle eBook of The Day: Magically Gifted At Birth, She Denies Her Abilities Until Her Best Friend Is Kidnapped. Read A Free Sample of Jessica Billings’ The Girl Born Of Smoke, Without Leaving Your Browser!

Thrust into a war-torn world torn and haunted by guilt over her sister’s death, Aurora swears never to use her magical powers. All that changes when her best friend is kidnapped, but with loved ones on both sides of the war, she is forced to decide who she can trust as she tries to stop the fighting. Jessica Billings’ The Girl Born of Smoke – 4.9 stars from 8 reviewers and just $2.99 on Kindle!

Here’s the set-up:

When Aurora is thrust into a world torn apart by war, she realizes she is the magically gifted child everyone is searching for. Haunted by the guilt of her sister’s accidental death and terrified of being found out, she swears never to use her powers. But all that changes when her best friend is mistaken as the wizard and kidnapped.

In her struggle to rescue him, she finds evidence the opposing armies may be connected, controlled by a single individual with his own agenda. With loved ones on both sides of the war, she is forced to decide who she can trust as she tries to stop the fighting. But, can she even trust her own sanity?

From the reviewers:

Readers and fans of the magical will enjoy this tale as we follow the lead character in her journey to not only find out who she ultimately is but also as she struggles to find a place. Searching for best friend who has been mistaken to be a wizard, she also must discover if there is a place in his life for her at the end.

“The Girl Born of Smoke” appears to be, at first glance, a simple tale of journey and self discovery. However, to under-estimate the story is to over-estimate yourself. Every time I thought I had the tale figured out, author Jessica Billings turned it around and went off some new direction, daring me to guess again. Who is a hero and who is a villain is a continual question not answered at length until the very end.

Written in inviting prose and populated with living, vibrant characters, the author tempts the reader to turn the page and continue on regardless of the hour or the day. Don’t start this book unless you’ve the proper time to lose yourself in its pages. And remember–you might *think” you know what’s going on, but you probably don’t.

I really enjoyed this book. The twists and turns the author took me on were amazing. Just when I thought I had one person or situation figured out, the author threw me for a loop!

Magic users, wizards, vying armies seeking her…all very wonderful components to this story that will have you turning each page in anticipation. Never a dull moment in a well-crafted story. 
Jessica Billings is currently going to school in Michigan, but will always consider herself an Oregonian. She likes photographing bugs and majored in biology and education at Oregon State. 

She is now pursuing a master’s degree in environmental engineering. She learned to scuba dive when she was 14, but refuses to dive into the frigid waters of Michigan.

 And here, in the comfort of your own browser, is your free sample: