Sharjah International Book Fair 29th Edition

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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
ExpoCenter 7th - 17th November, 2012. Hours | Saturday - Thursday: 10a.m. - 10p.m.; Friday: 4p.m - 10p.m.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Fake Plastic Souks: Olives Book Pricing Thinks

Forex Money for International Curency
Image by via Flickr
How do you put a price on a book these days? Many authors are selling Kindle books for $0.99, many others $2.99 but mainstream publishers are putting prices at $5.99 and more - all of Iain Banks' books will cost you $8.02, for instance, while Jeffery Deaver's Carte Blanche will set you back a cool $16.05 - his backlist is set at $8.02.

Amazon pays publishers/authors either a 35% or a 70% share on sales. The 70% share only applies to books priced between $0.99 and $9.99. So the mad thing is that while you pay double for Deaver's Carte Blanche compared to his back list, the publisher only gets the same as selling it for $8.02. Go figure.

So how do I price Olives the novel wot I have writ? I decided on $5.99 for the e-book, equivalent to £3.99, which is the UK price (and €3.99 for Europe). I actually make less from a US sale than a UK or European one because of the withholding tax. How did I decide on that price? Purely on an average price of novels I scanned that were from published authors. I can't really say that I'm in this for the money, although it'll be nice to break even. But I'm not selling my work for less than the cost of a couple of pints or a t-shirt. It's worth more than that. And this is really where my pricing strategy is at.

Other writers have strategies. Poster child for Kindle success Amanda Hocking, for instance, sells each book in her trilogies for different prices with a low entry level, typically $0.99 rising to $2.99. Interestingly, now she's signed to a publisher, her new books seem to be priced at $8.99 - I've seen no sign of any great outcry about that yet, but would expect one to come!

Finding out book prices in the Yankee Dollar isn't as easy as it first appears, BTW. Amazon works out you're an Amazon UK customer and 'games' the dollar prices to make them equivalent to the Sterling prices - super sneaky, huh? This must at least in part be due to the appalling disparity in Kindle prices - the entry level Kindle in the USA costs $79, while in the UK it's an unjustifiable £89 ($133!!!).

The same is true of the international print edition of Olives- the price for the printed book is $15.99, which is about equivalent to average book prices for this type of work as far as I can tell. With the Amazon edition of Olivesthe booky book, I make varying amounts of money from each copy sold depending on the platform its sold across. And again, I lose 30% to Uncle Sam. This is painful to me as a resident of the gloriously Tax Free UAE even though, as I say (and will keep saying until everyone believes me), it's not about the wonga.

The Middle East Olives book price is based on the Amazon price and again is based on an average price on the back of books, with slight reductions for Jordan and Lebanon based on anecdotal evidence of street prices for books there (I asked pals on Twitter, in other words).

And that's it. The whole brilliant Olives the book pricing strategy laid bare.

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