Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pricing Strategies


The price of books, e-books and 'regular' books is a topic of regular discussion among writers.   What is the right price that enables writers to feel reasonably compensated for their creative efforts and remains affordable for readers?  For the longest time book prices seemed stable, albeit slowly, very slowly increasing over the years.  For one thing, books are one of the few consumer items that has the price prominently displayed on the cover.   Can you imagine buying a pair of shoes that told one and all what you paid for it?   Book prices were and are a standard feature on hardcover and paperback books. 

Two prices are indicated even, one U.S. and one Canadian.  This feature became a problem with the Canadian dollar fluctuating from a low of about 64 cents about ten years ago to a high of about $1.05, maybe a year ago.  Printed prices on books became a 'best guess' by publishers and a problem for booksellers who had to explain to customers why the Canadian price was $2.00 or $5.00 more than the U.S. price when the Canadian dollar was higher than the American dollar.   Complaints were regularly heard that a short drive across the border could mean a significant savings for an avid reader.

Regardless of currency, there seemed to be a threshold of $9.99 for paper back books.   Mass market books, as the smaller 'pocket' sized books are called by publishers could be as low as $5.99.   Then came the trade paperback, a larger sized book, with a larger price tag.  The content was the same.   Hardcover books were beyond the reach of many and their purchase saved for a classic or absolutely favourite author.

This article from Kris Rusch's blog, which is geared for writers more than readers, provides more detail than many readers would probably want, but it does offer insight into the changing world of book pricing.

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