One of the many decisions you will have to make as you go through the writing and publishing process is what price to charge for your book. In today’s environment of online bookstores, the answer isn’t simple.

The books that I teach you how to write in my Fast Track Author programs are non-fiction books that solve a problem. The length averages 150 to 300 pages and they’re printed as perfect bound paperbacks.  If you browse for these types of books on Amazon, depending on your niche, you’ll find a wide range of prices starting with free and going up from there. The free prices are most likely a promotional tactic which is a topic for another blog post.

I did a quick, unscientific survey of the top books in the leadership niche while researching this post. The lowest price I found was $8.98 for Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by bestselling author Simon Sinek. The highest price was a NY Times Bestseller, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

The book prices don’t reflect the amount of time and research required to write them

Clearly, the price of those books don’t reflect the amount of time and research that went into producing them. Price is disconnected from the actual value the reader will receive.  The fact that the average cover price was around $10 is partly based on Amazon’s compensation structure. Authors receive the highest royalty – 70%, for books with list prices between $2.99 and $9.99.

Keep in mind that people who buy a certain type of book will usually buy more than one. Look at the other books in your area of expertise and check the prices. You don’t want to be a lot higher or lower than those books because the perception of value has already been set.

Profit shouldn’t be your most important consideration

Even though you want to make a profit from your book sales, profit probably shouldn’t be the most important consideration. You’re using your book as lead generation, and as a way to build your authority, celebrity and credibility. It’s going to open doors to larger clients and more business. When you look at those reasons, the profit per book becomes less important.

Here’s why. Let’s say your cost per book is $5 and you order 300 copies. Your total cost is $1500. If you sell your book for $9.99, your revenue is $2997, giving you a profit of $1497. The reality is that unless you have a huge fan base, you won’t sell more than 300 books. The value of your book will be in the increased ability to attract larger and more qualified clients. That $5 book could easily lead to a $1500 client

When pricing your book, factor in your production costs as well as your goals for the book. Remember that pricing is just as much art as science. The good news is that if you find your book isn’t selling at a particular price point, Amazon makes it very easy to change the selling price.

Linda Griffin
Linda Griffin

Linda Griffin is the author of the book, Maximum Occupancy: How Smart Innkeepers put heads in beds in every season and the founder of She is currently working on her second book, Book Smarts: The ninety day guide to writing and self-publishing for busy professionals.

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