Friday, November 01, 2013

Let me tell ya 'bout eBooks (Épisode Deux)

(Click to Enlarge)
Someone in a Facebook photography group (I regularly participate in) read my recent update on eBooks and asked if I might share my thoughts on pricing, pricing for eBooks that is. So here's what I think (and what I've done, pricing-wise) and please remember this is purely my opinion. There are no rules for pricing eBooks that I know of.

When I authored my first eBook, Guerrilla Glamour, I barely had a clue what I was doing... not so much the writing/authoring part, but the marketing and sales part. So, I did some research.  One of the many things I wanted to learn about was pricing. How much should I charge for my eBook? Was there some standard pricing guides that many eBook authors relied on?  Turns out, there aren't. Not really. But what I did see was a number of so-called eBook gurus saying that $6.95 was a good price.

Some of the gurus offered examples of eBooks priced at $6.95.  Many of those example books they provided were of the how-to-get-rich-on-the-web genre, or they were about investment strategies, self-help, those sorts of subjects.  And, of course, all the eBook gurus who were offering free advice on eBooks also had their own eBooks they were selling, mostly with titles along the lines of How to Get Rich Writing/Selling eBooks.  Their eBooks, as you might guess, were mostly priced at $6.95.

I then started looking at eBooks covering the eBook beat I was pursuing, that is, photography-- more specifically, those of the photography "how-to" variety.  What I discovered was that prices seemed to be in a range from about ten to thirty bucks.

I'm not sure how various photography eBook authors decided whether to charge $10, $30, or something in between. It seemed rather random, like a number plucked from the air. I suppose some authors value their advice and knowledge more than others. Others seem to base their price on their own famousness as a photographer. (Is famousness a word? If not, it should be.)  Also, page count sometimes seems to be a factor: the more pages, the more the eBook costs. (Even though eBooks, technically, don't have real pages... you know, paper pages.)

At this point in my research, I still didn't feel like I had a true (and too-knowledgeable) a handle on what I should charge for my eBook so I sort of arbitrarily decided on $9.95, the lower end of the photography "how-to" eBook price range. (There are, of course, eBooks of this sort priced even lower, but the majority seem to be in the ten-to-thirty-dollar range. )

I didn't decide on that lower-end price because I didn't think my advice and knowledge regarding pretty girl shooting had less value than the advice and knowledge of other photographers selling similar eBooks. I simply thought it was a good price, one that potential buyers wouldn't have to think too long or too hard about regarding whether or not my eBook might be worth ten bucks.  You see, I also learned that many eBook buyers purchase rather impulsively when they see an eBook with a subject matter they may be interested in. I figured $9.95 wouldn't be an impediment to following through on an impulse buy. I know many things I purchase (i.e., the things I purchase rather impulsively) that are priced in and around ten bucks don't require me to engage in much thought about the price.  So, that's what I did. I priced my eBook at $9.95 and, subsequently and so far, have priced all my eBooks the same.

The pretty girl at the top proudly letting the dogs out is Daisy. It's an outdoor shot combining daylight and artificial light. She's placed mostly in the ambient shade of an overhanging roof so that the sun, coming in from high-ish and camera left, could be used as a hair/accent light. I set my 5' Photoflex Octo opposite the sun for a main light.  ISO 200, f/9 at 125th. The image is mostly straight-out-of-the-camera except for a crop, slight levels adjust, and a couple of small blemishes removed.


Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed a ton of eBooks over the last few years, yours, Dan, Ed, etc. It seems that eBooks specific to nudes are more expensive then say, Craft and Visions books on portraits or landscapes, etc. I always just figured it was the subject matter.

jimmyd said...

Excellent point. I hadn't thought about in the context of subject matter. You may be right. It may be related.

Stephen said...

I bet it also has to do with how much the ebook cost to make. Some people hire designers and editors to make their books better. Some have the skills to do that themselves. Also some come with extra content (videos, presets, etc.). I'm sure that plays a role as well.

jimmyd said...


No doubt you're right. Me? I don't have the skills (nor the right software) to make my books too slick. I also don't try to impress with photos. (I do try to impress with words and ideas thos) Instead, I'd rather the photos underscore and/or illustrate the text. But that's okay cuz, in all my ebooks, I preach the KISS notion constantly. (Keep it simple, stupid)I wouldn't be true to my own words if I slicked up my books too much.