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View Full Version : Pricing of self published nonfiction. Thoughts? Business models?



Manny
01-27-2008, 02:21 AM
I am almost at the stage of ordering my proofs with Lulu (When you guys help me with my formatting - see thread below http://rwadventures.com/Smileys/animated/laugh.gif ) - So am almost good to go. The book is non fiction and instructional.

So a 200 page 6x9 costs around 5 lets say, shipping to anywhere will be less than another 5 (Most sales I expect will be in the US) So I am thinking of a price of 14-99 (Under $30) in order to make a net profit of 5+ per book. (What I gain on postage I lose on Paypal fees so it evens out)

Now the subject is niche, meaning people will seek it out on Amazon (not done the sums for there yet) and Google and I am hoping to channel a lot of topic specific forum traffic in the direction of my site that will have a Paypal payment cart on etc....

People are selling some very tacky e-books (And I mean 20 years out of date or dreadfully written and full of errors) for 7-10 already, and actually selling them! http://rwadventures.com/Smileys/animated/shocked.gif

I perused Amazon the other night and found a book on the identical topic selling (perhaps) at $78! (40) - Now that guy has no greater topic specialty or experience than me (I Googled him) yet he is pricing his production at $78.

Now I know from selling cars that if you price a car at 2000 and it is cheap you will sell it for sure and get dozens of calls, but of you price the car at 3000 and wax lyrical about it you will get fewer calls but the guy who buys it perceives he is getting a better car than those advertised at 2000, (that he wont even call up) because he is paying more.

Now the subject matter - one can throw thousands of pounds or dollars at and get nowhere, so a book at $78 or $30 should not matter one jot. The information therein will save the punter thousands anyway. But to get that across to the punter without it sounding like flannel is difficult, by the time they have been ripped off a few times they may be reluctant to spend more to get it right. Before they have been ripped off by others they dont yet know they need the information.

So whats the psychology behind book buying? Are there any models that work?

I know when I buy a book I try to find it used or on ebay to save a few quid. The same mentality would drive my potential customers to buy an outdated/useless e-book elsewhere.

Thoughts and opinions welcome.

Stormhawk
01-27-2008, 03:00 AM
Sorry, it's early and it's not quite clear.

Are you planning on getting a distro package through Lulu?
Are getting your own outside ISBN and selling through an Amazon Advantage account?
Are you going to buy a bulk lot and sell them through your own site?

veinglory
01-27-2008, 03:54 AM
If the demand is there you can charge a premium but there is still a balance between profit per unit and units sold.

My understanding is that postage and currency conversion for the UK is fairly unfavorable at Lulu. Have you run the exact figures?

Manny
01-27-2008, 01:20 PM
Sorry, it's early and it's not quite clear.

Are you planning on getting a distro package through Lulu?
Are getting your own outside ISBN and selling through an Amazon Advantage account?
Are you going to buy a bulk lot and sell them through your own site?

Sorry for my lack of clairty; I bought the 10 ISBN deal, so some distribution will be via Amazon and other Lulu avenues. I also have a couple of websites, both of which will sell it, those will be shipped by me.


If the demand is there you can charge a premium but there is still a balance between profit per unit and units sold.

My understanding is that postage and currency conversion for the UK is fairly unfavorable at Lulu. Have you run the exact figures?

I priced author copies of course, it was 4 and change, hence my 5 per unit figure above.

ResearchGuy
01-27-2008, 07:02 PM
. . . yet he is pricing his production at $78.

. . .
That does not mean anyone is buying it.

FWIW, I am publishing some fiction, using Lulu. My first is an anthology by local mystery authors, list-priced at $15.95 ("published by you" ISBN and distribution package). Because the first printing is 500 copies (due on my doorstep tomorrow), which gets the special bulk pricing, and it will largely be sold locally as a fund-raiser for the authors' organization, the deal works out pretty well all around. (Not so much for me, but I am slicing my margin to the bone because it is a fund-raiser for a nonprofit group and a nice promo. for my own services.) That is a 188 page book (inclusive front matter, blank last page, and all).

My next one will be a novel tentatively priced at $15 or maybe $15.95 (208 pp. inclusive, and like the other, trade paperback, "published by you"). Narrow profit margins, but it will work ok if bought in 100-copy lots or larger for direct sale and consignment. (Spend some time investigating Lulu's bulk-purchase discounts -- I don't know how they work outside the U.S., but here the deals, esp. at 500 copies and up, are pretty good. At 1,000 and up, they turn to offset printing, competitive bidding, and probably achieve better pricing yet. At that point, Lulu is a printer broker saving the publisher a truckload of time and effort.)

Now, the retail royalties on those books are thin, but I expect few sales through trade channels (bookstores ordering copies for customers) anyway. The books primarily will appeal to and be marketed to local audiences and the numbers work ok for the authors and adequately for me as publisher, given that I have very low overhead and see these books as helping me to get my foot in the publishing door. This is a by-my-bootstraps effort.

I cannot see a list price of more than $16.00 for a trade paperback novel or fiction anthology as being credible here, and even that much is pushing the limit, IMHO. Exceptions might trade paperback editions of giant novels by bestselling authors (but even then, 800-plus-page tomes by Diana Gabaldon, for example, I see list-priced at $15.00).

FWIW.

--Ken

Manny
01-27-2008, 09:50 PM
I cannot see a list price of more than $16.00 for a trade paperback novel or fiction anthology as being credible here, and even that much is pushing the limit, IMHO. Exceptions might trade paperback editions of giant novels by bestselling authors (but even then, 800-plus-page tomes by Diana Gabaldon, for example, I see list-priced at $15.00).

Can the same be said of non fiction?

This is non fiction; the title line was an error I asked the Mod to fix but she hasnt done yet.

I agree the $78 book I referred to probably is not selling much, indeed the Amazon review it has is by a well known shiller who crops up on forums various, shilling the books and e-books of others too.

ResearchGuy
01-27-2008, 10:03 PM
Can the same be said of non fiction?

. . .
No. But it depends on the book.

General nonfiction (say, history or popular science or biography) is not going to bring a premium. However, specialized books with cash value to a buyer are different. For example, a friend of mine has a technical business and publishes related books. People are happy to pay $40 for his trade paperbacks, and twice that for the versions with CD included (forms and the like on the CDs). That is because they have business use for the information and the author is expert in what he writes/publishes about. He also knows how to market and promote his books.

Textbooks are in their own world and can be very expensive. I was recently included in one (a short piece of mine was reproduced in it) that lists for $70 or so, for a several-hundred-page trade-paperback-style college textbook from a large educational publisher.

--Ken