Positive Writer

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What’s the Absolute Best Price to Charge for a Kindle Book?

That’s the question that is confounding a great many authors who are self-publishing via the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program.

I’m one of those authors. I have several books on Amazon already, priced between $2.99 and $9.99. But what is the right price? Where’s the sweet spot? What price works the best?

I will share with you which price I have had the most success with, and I am going to ask for your help in pricing my new Book “Happy Every Day”.



Since I have been offering free review copies via Story Cartel in exchange for honest reviews I have set the price of “Happy Every Day” at $3.99.

There’s nothing scientific about the price I chose. I simply considered it a reasonable price, and I didn’t need to give it too much thought because I realized most people would download the review copy and not buy it during the Story Cartel offer.

Since today is the last day for reviewers to download the book from Story Cartel, it’s time for me to start considering the price.

The first price that comes to mind, and the price I have had the most success with on Amazon, is $2.99.

According to Joe Konrath, on his blog, he states quite convincingly that $2.99 is the new eBook standard. If you don’t know who Joe is, just know this: He’s sold over one million eBooks.

$2.99 is an impulse buy. It’s no-guilt. It’s a bargain. It encourages people to buy, rather than discourages.

–Joe Konrath (If you agree, then tweet.)

But I know there are authors who disagree, and understandably so, because they’ve put so much time and effort into their work. Many of them feel as though $2.99 is short changing their work. Is it?

On Amazon there are many books rated far lower than similar books which are much cheaper. So in the case of eBooks the price does not equate worth.

It became the most popular book on Story Cartel.

most popular book on story cartel

The majority of reviewers of “Happy Every Day” loved it! As I write this there are 40 – 5 Star Reviews and 32 – 4 Star Reviews.

That’s quite revealing considering the book went out via Story Cartel to readers who had no personal interest in the book.

Should I take it’s popularity on Story Cartel into consideration? Rising to #1 on Story Cartel is no easy accomplishment.

If I go by the reviews and success on Story Cartel, should I charge $9.99?

Or, do I consider that “Happy Every Day” is a non-fiction book that provides valuable strategies and can genuinely help readers?

How much is a book worth that provides simple, effective ways to happiness?

And maybe I really should consider how many nights I burned the midnight oil working on the book.

Writing a book about any subject and making it simple is hard work. (Tweet This)

Then I should charge, $22.99. Right? Well, no, probably not. I’m not crazy.

Let’s look at royalties:

KDP offers 70% royalties for $2.99 to $9.99, and 35% if the price is below $2.99 or above $9.99.

When comparing to traditional book publishing royalties 70% is a darn good percentage, more than you would earn selling a mass market paperback at about 8% royalties.

However, just because the royalties for KDP are higher, it won’t help if you price your book at $9.99 and no one buys it.

For a $2.99 Kindle eBook you earn $2.09 per sale. To get an idea how much that really is, consider that a traditionally published mass market paperback selling for $10.00 at 8% royalties gets you only $0.80.

When I look at it like that $2.99 seems like a pretty good price point.

It looks like we are back to square one and I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the factors, possibilities and arguments for one price or another, because frankly it’s overwhelming.

And that’s why I want your help.

I think the best price is the price in which the majority of readers feel the most comfortable purchasing at.

But what is that price?

I’d really like to know what you think:

What do you think is the best price for “Happy Every Day”?

Let’s say you’re the author and it’s your book, what would you price it at and why?

Have you published a book via KDP? What price point has worked best for you?

Share with us in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Great article Bryan! Will keep this bookmarked to refer to, as well as pass it along to other author friends.


    • Great, thank you!

      What price do you have in mind for when you publish your book, Devani? And why? I’d really like to know.

      • It’s something I have been needing to look into, which is why this post came in perfect time 🙂

        I had been seeing a lot of ebooks in the $2.99 – $5.00 range, I just haven’t pin pointed what price mine would be (which I really need to get a move on with!) — Next step will be looking at other ebooks in my niche and the avg., price they’re selling for.


        • That’s a good point, Devani. To look at other related books to see what the average is and which are doing the best. That’s what I’ll do over the next few days as well. However, we have to keep in mind that books published by traditional publishers are not priced by the author and are usually higher.

          • Yes! Great point! And I will look at both the self pub., and traditionally published books and to set for a good starting point … I think a lot of this comes from just experimenting and seeing what works and tweaking what doesn’t.

            We can check out what everyone else is doing, but that doesn’t sell books. At some point we have to get our own feet wet and make some mistakes to learn from 🙂

            Thanks again Bryan!

            ps., Also, would be interesting if you would do a post on the sweet spot you have found to print books …. might make a good follow up post.

          • The sweet spot for me in paperback has been in the $12.00 range. Not sure why that is, but I only know that because Amazon often offers the discount on my memoir at that price and it does well. However, when schools order my book from my publisher they pay $16.95 and I’ve sold way more that way.

  • I’d say $2.99 seems reasonable. You might not get as much from the sell of just one book but more people are likely to buy the book so the numbers of books sold would make a difference. There are so many books on the market that I would like to buy but I can’t because of the price being so high. Even at $10 I usually add those books to my wish list and sometimes forget about them. I’ve already purchased your book so that won’t happen. 🙂

    • You mention a valid concern, Anastacia – what people can currently afford in this economy. If we price our books out of their range, how many can we then realistically expect to sell? As you stated, the quantity is the key and at 70% there should be a decent return on investment.

      Thanks for buying my book. Are you going to enter the contests? Low hanging fruit. 🙂

      • Yes. I will be entering the contests. In fact I’ll start by writing my review for Amazon now. I’m also trying to decide on which picture I want to use with which quote for the pinterest contest. Decisions, decisions. 🙂 I’ve been keeping an eye on the due dates. I should be able to get it all done on time.

        • You’ve got a while for most of the contests, Anastacia and the good news is you can enter multiple photos for the image contest. The book review drawing is soon, though, so you want to get that in as soon as you can. I am looking forward to reading it. 🙂 Thank you!

          • I got the book review done and turned in. And I gave myself a pat on the back for being on top of it today. 🙂

          • Awesome! And I am so glad you loved it! 🙂 Thank you, Anastacia.

          • PS: Don’t forget to post your review to your blog so you are also in the blog post drawing!! 🙂

          • Yes, definitely. I’m going by through a series of posts this month and will throw in a post about your book. I thought I’d add the Pinterest picture in that post too. 🙂 I’ll work on that today.

  • Smashwords published a blog post on this topic. Their research shows that $3.99 is the “sweet spot” and $1.99 is a black hole.


    • Cool. Thanks for sharing, Kathy. I’m going to read it.

      • No “Like” button. 🙂 I’m always happy to share when I can.

        • HI Kathy, what do you mean? For this post? There’s a like button and facebook share. Always nice when people share the posts 🙂

          • Bryan, I meant a “Like” button on the comment. I’ve already shared via Facebook and Twitter.

          • Ah, I see. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • SonjaWi

    As a reader I must say that 2.99-3.99 is my limit for an e-book, honestly. Anything above it makes me wonder why the book nearly costs as much as a paperback, in which costs like paper, printing,bringing it to the point of sale and finally in amazon books shipping occurs. The idea than an ebook that takes much less resources should cost as much as a paperback just doesn’t appeal to me.

    Being a published writer myself I know how much work goes into it per page – but then, as you said, the royalties on the old print market where much lower for the author. Though in self publishing things as proof reading and marketing are your problems to master, so I guess it’s a little bit of a trade off.

    • Totally agree, Sonja, about the paperback vs eBook when it comes to traditional publishers but for authors who are self-published they pay for their own editor, for marketing, for the book cover and this can reach into the thousands, but you know that. So for self-published authors a lot of funds potentially can go into their eBook. Still, who is going to consider that when making a purchase for an eBook?

  • Bryan, You really know how to engage a conversation! Engaging article and killer information every writer needs. I have to confess, I haven’t had time to read your book yet, but at 2.99 it seriously is a no guilt buy.

    PS: Way to go. It’s shear genius to walk us through the process with your articles! Thank You.

    • Thanks, Bob! I’m totally down with the no-guilt buy idea because that leaves one open to focus on marketing and getting the word out about the book. Speaking of which, thank you for sharing! 🙂
      Genius? Aw shucks! I’ll take it. Thank you, Bob!

  • Hi Bryan,
    Great topic! I’ve seen this conversation a lot on the various writing groups that I’m in. The best thing I’ve found is to do is to test different pricing points and see what works the best for your book(s). Even in doing that, it can bring your book more exposure, because Amazon has different lists for different price points. Personally, I’ve had more sales with my novels at 3.99 than 2.99, although book one in my series is at 2.99, with the prequel being free.

    The genre or niche also makes a big difference. What are similar books in your category selling for?

    • Good idea, Stacy. That’s what I am going to do once I settle on a price. I’ll probably go lower to higher and test for a month each. I’m also looking at similar books and the pricing seems all over the place. The two prices that appeal to me the most are $2.99 and $4.99. The reason for $4.99 is because this seems to be a common number in retail and automatically puts one in the mindset that it is under $5.00 and a bargain. Although, clearly $2.99 is more of a bargain too. I guess we have to use a little bit of testing like you suggested. 🙂

      So which of your books does the best and what price is it?

  • Rick Carter

    Hi – I just started a book I NEED to write and isn’t my idea while it may not even be my words – it’s not finished and I have been thinking about price?!?! Go figure and it’s really not my book. Confusing … yes it is. I am pricing it at $7.77 when I finish and figure out how to do the mechanics. I have other books I wish to publish or re-publish but have been stuck!? Wish me luck! God’s Blessings be with you! Rick =) Let me know what the final outcome is please! =)

    • Good luck, Rick! Can you share with me why you chose $7.77. It’s a cool number, but seems to me you have meaning behind this price? I’d love to know the story.

      • Rick Carter

        Hi Bryan . I’d be happy to. I started another book but have been delayed due to health Oct/Nov 2013. Nothing new but a disappointment always! I wanted to start the book introduction at $7.77 for many reasons. With 7 being noted as the Lord’s number along with all the rest I guess I was branding (sorta). My personal email way back on AOL (90’s) ended up a777… I was trying to get AtoZ or alpha to omega referencing God! Also wanted to note when Peter asked how many times should we forgive someone? and Jesus responded 7 x 70 … Finally I ended up with a777chance and the significance I tell people is each of us is #1 in God’s interest (a) and He forgives me at least 777 times a day and then I get up! Finally that He never gives up on me and is always willing to take a chance on me every time despite how many times I fail ! Sorry for taking so long to respond but just found this today on disqus .. ain’t figured out facebook or myspace yet either .. Is myspace on the outs ? Some one told me that?! God Bless as Red Skelton would say – I am at your service! Rick

        • Grant

          A year later, I would really be interested in your findings Rick.

        • macnicolson

          You just told me the price I should set… $6.66…. for my about to be released book… “Loved By the Sun”….. sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  • George Ward

    I heard once that there are 2 kinds of best book awards. Best Author and Best Selling Author. Which has the most satisfaction for you. I would presume you want your stuff out there to be read. If $2.99 sells, well? I would rather sell 1K books for $2.99 than 500 at $5.99 for exampe. More readers = more eyeballs on your work = more likely sales. Write, publish, slap $2.99 on it and forget it…just let it roll.

    • George, I happen to be one of those guys who likes plain language, so thank you for breaking it down and getting straight to the point. And, more importantly, I agree with you.

      • George Ward

        Thanks Bryan. Nice to know I’m not alone, ha. After I write something, I can’t go back to it in any way. VERY seldom does something about it bug me until I fix it…like a bad ending…otherwise it’s exciting to wait for the muse and the next project. If I dibble-dabble on a project, it gets like quicksand and it’s then never enough. A long-time ago friend once told me “A hundred is not enough and One is too many.” She was talking about her relationship with men but if you squint your eyes you can understand it’s application here as well. Thanks again, Bryan and Best to you!

  • For right now I have lowered the price to $2.99 and will try it for one month, and in the second month I may try another price to see what the difference is.

    I’m still open to input, so if you’ve just read this post, feel free to share your thoughts on Kindle pricing!

  • Véronique St-Martin

    Personnally, I find that 2,99$ is a reasonable price for an ebook (including yours), because I think that we can’t compare the price of a paper book to the one of an ebook. A paper book also requires work of more stakeholders (printer, distributor…) than with an ebook and is more expensive to produce than an ebook. If I had to sell my ebooks, I think that I’d set the price at 2,99$ but 9,99$ is also a good price, especially if the ebook has many pages. According to me, an ebook should be sold between 2,99$ and 9,99$.

    • Thanks Veronique. Good to hear from you. How’s your book coming along?

  • I have two books with KDP. I priced them at 7.99 and 8.49. The paperbacks are 14 and 15. My books are closer to literary fiction than any other genre. I have a hard time with the idea of bringing the price down. Wouldn’t that be cheapening the whole category? On the other hand, I’d like to experiment and see if a lower price would bring more sales.

    • Yeah, I get what you are saying, Dan. I’ve felt the same way. My first three books are still priced at $7.00 (Kindle) and have lately considered lowering them to $4.99. I’ve pretty much come to the decision that I am going to do it, if for no other reason than to see if there is a difference. A couple days ago I increased the price for my best seller on Kindle from $2.99 to $4.99 and have seen no difference in the average number of purchases. So this kind of tells me that if a book is of interest the price is not as much of a factor.

      However, I do not believe going over the $4.99 price range is beneficial unless the book is highly sought after or offers some kind of included bonus, such as a free audio version or PDF version etc. So many readers are now asking themselves why they are paying the same or more for a comparable paperback version, even though we the authors know that paying for editors, book covers and marketing cost a lot and there needs to be a return on investment otherwise it’s not worth it. Even so, I think 70% at $4.99 with brisk sales will bring the ROI.

      I know it’s kind of a guessing game right now, but that’s why I am going to try a few different price ranges to see what happens.

  • I think $2.99 is a great price to start with, for the reasons you give. It may be that the price will gain you enough readers that others will be willing to pay a little more later on — for your next book. (I think $4.99 is about the most I would ever ask for an ebook, unless the book was massively long AND already hugely popular.) I’ve noticed many novelists with many published titles offer a few of their titles for little or nothing, to build readership — one or two titles for $0, and all the rest for $2.99 to $4.99.

    One of the things I love about Amazon publishing (the only kind I’ve tried so far) is that they make it so easy for you to experiment with different prices until you find the “sweet spot” between increased royalty and increased sales.

    • Hi Lisa! I priced it at $2.99 and expect to leave it there for a few weeks or at least a month and then test another price. I agree, Amazon does make it super easy. 🙂

  • Penelope Silvers

    I currently have 6 books up on Amazon. The best selling book is priced right now at $1.99. I may raise that price to $2.99. I’m looking at the number of pages, and I feel that $1.99 is fair for that amount of material. I am working on a recipe book to go along with it, and the bundle of the two will be much higher.

    • I agree, the first thing as the author that needs to be considered is what is the fair amount you feel comfortable with. Then start testing up and down maybe a dollar at a time. I do have some good news for you about increasing your bestselling book. As you may have read in the previous comments I recently increased the price of my current bestseller from $2.99 to $4.99 and have not noticed any drop off. Of course, I have been promoting that book for quite a while. “Happy Every Day” is still new so I’ll start at $2.99 and see what happens.

      However, after talking with someone about the subject matter he brought up a good point that readers might expect such a book about self-help towards happiness to be higher than $2.99 and might think something is wrong because it is a low price… so much to consider, eh?

      Thanks for your input, Penelope! 🙂

  • Tembrooke

    Since the book is fairly short, I think you have to keep the price on the low end or some readers will feel cheated. (I’ve also noticed that many readers think e-books should be cheaper since there’s no printing costs.) Even though your advice is valuable, I wouldn’t price the book higher than $3.99.

    • Thanks Tembrooke, right now the price is at $2.99. I’ll see how it goes for a while, but it will likely be a month or two before I have any idea since I just ran the Story Cartel promotion.

  • D Scott

    Definitely between 2 and 4 bucks. Life is not easy and it seemss like its a lot of people out there struggling and seeking ways to fix their issues. Its a good price to try out, cheap enough for ppl of many means and that 70 percent royalty sounds pretty awesome to me. If it was my book thats how I’d go about it….

  • Sea Never Dry Books

    I’m surprised to find that so many people think $2.99 is reasonable! I try to think it terms of the value that a book offers; if your book even comes close to helping people become happy every day (or even happier most days!), a challenge pursued yet unmet since the beginning of recorded history, then surely it’s worth more than the cost of a cheap latte. I understand that people are used to seeing $2.99 as an e-book price–and you may indeed drive sales at that price–but I think the reality then is that you’ve catered to the expectations of people who like to buy lots of e-books cheaply (and then aren’t put out when any one book doesn’t turn out to be that great). I’d like to see more authors price books at what they really think they’re worth (content-wise) and watch readers become more discerning about what they buy. Will that help the cream to rise to the top? With *so many* options out there, it’s not guaranteed, but I cringe to think that good writing and stories are being undervalued and that the craft is becoming unsustainable for writers. Where will that leave us years from now?

    • Hi SNDB, actually, I don’t think you can find a latte for $2.99 🙂 But you do bring up a very good point. After the first week or so at $2.99 I am starting to wonder if that price is better suited for fiction, rather than self-help books. Since lowering the price I have actually sold less copies. Sounds strange, but self-help books are traditionally more expensive than fiction and I think there’s a certain expectation from consumers to pay more for self-help because of the value, which you are talking about. Lower price may be translated as lower value. I do think I will need to try a higher price to see what the difference is, because it did sell better at $3.99.

      The price I prefer is $4.99 as I think $5.00 is worth it by the customer considering how much time and effort goes into writing and the overall creation of the book, and not to mention the value the strategies can provide the reader. The more I’ve considered this over the last couple weeks I’ve realized that self-help and other categories cannot be compared as they are apples and oranges. Even though consumers may prefer lower prices, they still determine value by the price especially when it comes to non-fiction.

      If nothing else, so far this is proving to be a really good research project. 🙂

      • Sea Never Dry Books

        Definitely agree regarding the perception of value as well as the need to view fiction and nonfiction differently. I hope you are successful at the new (higher) price!

      • Rob

        Interesting point you make Bryan. When I had my Kindle book priced below $4.97, I hardly sold any of them. My friends asked me: What is wrong with it? Why is it so cheap? Then I also learned that no two books are alike. There are quick reads and there are life changing books. Just like there are BMWs and some less expensive cars. I personally do not believe in pricing things too low as it reflects the self esteem of the writer and devalues the material. I am a firm believer that people need to pay for what they get.

    • Dave

      Fiction is entertainment. “How to” is life advancement, which is value.
      “How to” involving children is the pinnacle of value. To create a solid
      foundation for a child is priceless. What would you pay for such a
      resource, especially if you KNEW you couldn’t get it wrong? Priceless.

  • Through the holidays I have lowered the price to $0.99. I’ll let you all know the results in January!

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  • John

    I know this article is a year old, but I just have to say this: I absolutely hate it when writers use the coffee analogy as an excuse to price their books over $2.99. A coffee is a one-offer for the coffee maker, who is going to get paid ONCE for that coffee. An eBook, on the other hand, will keep making money over and over as long as there are readers without the maker (you, the writer) having to remake that book again and again from scratch. So when you hear a writer bring up the coffee analogy as an excuse to price their book at a ridiculous price, please, just slap them for me.

    • Nisism Levy

      I disagree. Look at it from the consumer’s point of view. They have to spend that 3 or 4 bucks everyday for the coffee but for a one time charge of 3 or 4 bucks they can buy the eBook that can give them enjoyment for as longa it takes to read it and possibly further enjoyment and benefits for the rest of their lives if it’s a great book,

  • Tom

    It seems that a lot of people are talking about a price that they think is “fair,” or comparing $2.99 to a cup of coffee and getting butt-hurt, saying that their book is worth more that that. Now I don’t know if $2.99 is too much or too little, but to be blunt this is a ridiculous way of looking at it, and you should purge this thinking from your mind.

    Your book has a specific demand function among consumers, and if you new that exact function you could set the perfect price to maximize your profits. Not knowing what this function is, you are trying to estimate it.

    Fairness and emotions really shouldn’t come into play, unless of course you are worried about the consumers’ notions of fairness and a psychological “price ceiling.” That can definitely be a factor.

  • Kanini Jehna

    Price is a factor for me. I try to stay around the $6.00 to less range. I have gotten some really good free ebooks since that is primarily where I read mine. I have a kindle and a Nook and can get the free ebooks every day through the email letter they send out, but they only stay that way for a day and then the price goes back up.

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  • Lymon Lemon

    I know this conversation is a bit outdated now but I’m truly surprised to see how many people think 2.99 is reasonable for an e-book. A publishing that is going to resonate with them for however long it needs to. When I go to the bookstore, I see monthly magazines priced at a minimum of 5.99 and up if you want to buy off the shelf without a subscription. Those magazines get read and have valuable input. Why would an author settle for less than $5 when it comes to pouring their hard work, thought and time into writing and why would a customer want something on the cheap side that they’re purchasing for that author’s hard work, thought, time and value they bring the reader? I don’t understand the cheap-minded economy we live in today.

  • Katarina

    I was testing out different theories regarding the right price, and I used different strategies for several pen names that I have. There were some variations from time to time, but this is what I found works best
    I was never into selling my novels for $0.99, because I think it’s important to value your own work. And it works for me, I make a lot more money than before.