My 30 Day Pricing Experiment

Around March 20th I raised the price of Into the Badlands from $2.99 to $3.99 (I wrote about this in detail here). I won’t bore you by repeating lots of numbers here, but the gist of my thinking was that I’d lose 30 sales and make up to $200 more in royalties, provided sales didn’t drop too drastically.

Initially things looked good; sales stayed mostly steady and I ended up making more money by selling fewer books. Unfortunately as the experiment progressed sales continued to drop. By the end of my experiment I calculated my projected sales and earnings and found things didn’t go as I’d hoped. Sales dropped more than expected, causing me to lose more like 75 books sold, while only making around $50 in additional royalties.

In the end I decided that losing 75 readers wasn’t worth the extra $50, so I dropped the price back down to $2.99.

Immediately sales increased. I was down to 8 or 10 per day at the end of the experiment, but after going back to $2.99 sales returned to around 16 copies per day.

I think losing 75 potential readers (who also might buy my other books) isn’t worth so little extra royalties. I’m more than willing to forfeit $50 to gain all those new readers.

I suppose I could have held out longer, but I pulled the plug when things started to roll too far downhill. Apparently $2.99 is the sweet spot for my book.

I found a forum topic on Amazon a couple days ago concerning the topic of $2.99 and $3.99 pricing. The general sentiment appeared to be that $2.99 was an impulse buy and $3.99 required more “wanting it”. These customers would spend the extra buck if they felt it was worth it, but $3.99 required more thought.

In the end I really don’t care if the purchase was an impulse buy or not. It still means that a reader now has my book and I get a couple bucks for it. Reaching readers is really my top concern and if $2.99 allows me the chance to prove myself then I’m all in.

Around the same time I also raised the price on the short story collection from $1.99 to $2.99. It’s never really been a big seller anyway and the price jump to $2.99 pretty much killed sales. Sure, profits increased from $.70 per sale to around $2.00 per sale, but copies sold dropped from 45 per month to under 15. I broke even on royalties, but lost many sales. The decision to move Walking At Night back down to $1.99 pretty much made itself.

Maybe once I have more of an established name I can command the extra buck for my work. Maybe not. Since writing isn’t my primary source of income I can take a hit and do alright. It seems people are more comfortable with the $2.99 price point and I’m just fine with that; I do want to give people what they want and do it for a fair price.

If lower prices means I reach more readers then I’m even more okay with it.


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