Does the 99 Cent Kindle version eBook Selling Strategy work?
The jury is still out for lots of authors as to whether or not the 99 cent selling strategy for a Kindle version book works. I, for one, plan to find out. And I plan to find out within the next 48 hours.
I am a members of several author forums and groups both in LinkedIn and elsewhere. When information surfaced about Amanda Hocking, an avid writer for many of her young 26 years making millions from selling her 99 cent ebooks there were those who cheered her and others who said they would never stoop so low as to sell their works for so little.
Then there were the heated discussions about John Locke’s success with his book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!
Countless angry authors jumped on the bandwagon to say, “I guess the way to make a million with Kindle ebooks is to write a book on how I did so.”
If anyone read Mr. Locke’s book they would quickly realize that he sold over a million eBooks with his novels NOT with his eBook about how he had over a million downloads. They would also know he gave the exact strategies for how he sold so much.
Human nature is such that we tend to judge without knowing the full story. The fact is, many authors are making a great living selling low cost versions of their books. On the flip side there are plenty of authors who can’t give their work away.
Is selling an eBook for 99 cents the right thing to do or not? Personally, if I make my millions 99 cents at a time, so be it. I’m all for it.
The following comment was posted on my blog when I wrote about Amanda Hockings.
“My friend made a decent chunk of change by selling his ebooks on the Kindle marketplace for just $0.99. He didn’t get rich but he sure made a lot more money than I thought was possible when selling such low-priced items.”
What price point you sell your Kindle eBooks at is entirely up to you, but before making a final decision consider a few important
1. Most buyers don’t have to put much thought into pressing the “buy now” button for a 99 cent decision.
2. You reach readers you may otherwise not reach by selling low.
3. Depending on the genre of the book you can use the 99 cent version as a marketing tool.
4. If you do sell tons of copies you can laugh all the way to the bank.
On the flip-side, you may not sell many copies at all. I daresay that won’t feel very good to any author.
Being one who loves testing a theory I decided to put my eBook, 101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to the test. Until Monday, August 1, 2011 I have priced it at only 99 cents to test this price point. After that I raise the price. That’s right, I am testing this out for a very, very limited time period.
Buy your 99 cent copy now. Click here.
The paperback version sells for nearly $20, but you get it for 95% off the full price. Am I crazy? Maybe. Will I sell a lot? I have no idea.
What I do know though is I will be watching my numbers to see if the book rises on the charts.
The fact is, when a book does go up the Amazon charts you open yourself up to other potential buyers. When your book does extremely well you have other marketing opportunities with your new found position such as blog postings, media releases, tweets, mentions on your Facebook wall and posting in LinkedIn to name just a handful of activities you would benefit from partaking if the strategy works.
Is 101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door any good? Rather than me telling you, check out reviews of the book. Then
click the “buy now” button. After all, it’s only 99 cents for you and a way to test a theory for me. Besides, it’s a fun read. Click here to get your own copy.
Here is my current Kindle version position.
Buy your 99 cent copy now. Click here.
I will share the results of sales rankings for 101 Ways in an upcoming blog post.
So what are your thoughts on selling your Kindle version book for a low price? Comments welcome.
Does the 99 Cent Kindle version eBook Selling Strategy work?
Love it! Because my book, Stop Peeing On Your Shoes- Avoiding the 7 Mistakes That Screw Up Your Job Search” was written to keep job seekers from making the mistakes that their “competitors” are making, love the idea of selling it for 99 cents in this very tough economy.
I bought Kathleen’s 99 center…. looking forward to seeing her results!
If there are several of us who wish to do it, how can we do it together? Beer comes in a 12 pack- how can we offer a “12 pack” of really great resources and info for what would turn out to be $11.88?
Thanks for your comments Julie. I love the 12 Pack idea. Not sure how it could be implemented but very creative.
Selling books, like selling most products and services, often boils down to the marketing. Sure, it’s a great idea to have a stellar product and service (and book) and yet, at the end of the day if no one knows about what we have to offer it’s likely we won’t sell at the level we could.
Running a “special” and then doing all possible to get the word out is one of many ways this can be done.
With your book, Stop Peeing On Your Shoes- Avoiding the 7 Mistakes That Screw Up Your Job Search, what a great way to serve your market (especially those who may be out of work for some time) by offering them your book for a great price.
Over the long run, if we serve our market they become “raving fans.” Bottom – line; raving fans tend to buy more than those who could care less if we can even fog a mirror. LOL
Thanks again for your comments Julie.
I’ve tried various price points and .99 is definitely a winner
I migh consider buying the ebook at such a discount, really. (I’m saying this for survey purposes…)
On the other hand, I don’t have a Kindle device, nor do I plan to buy one any time soon. I live in Greece, though, and Kindles are not a trend here. I kind of think you could sell quite a few ebooks at $0.99.
Thank you for your comments Helenee. Actually, you don’t need a Kindle reader to download Kindle Books. Click here to go to Amazons Apps Page for Kindle Apps for your PC, MAC and other devices.
Just as a note of encouragement, I only have the PC version of Kindle and it works just fine.
I am excited to see what you find out about the 99 cent ebooks. I think the Kindle is missing the boat big-time because it does not yet show color in pictures. I will be having a wonderful ebook ready soon but it’s very heavy on photographs as it is a book about porches….and because of that I don’t think it’s Kindle-friendly.
Loved this post,
Helenee, No need to buy a Kindle in order to read the 0.99c books – you can download free Kindle reader software onto your PC from the Amazon site – works perfectly – Buy a book, and start reading it in one minute – wonderful.
Here are two things
I’d like your opinion on:
1. My kindle ebook is ready for release anyday now for 5.99. I’m thinking it
may be cool to do a “special introductory offer” at 99 cents, then after a
certain time frame, return to 5.99, while mentioning my paperback is 12.95.
How does that sound?
2. Do you think the 99 cent approach will make buyers think the author is
struggling to sell books and are trying to do anything to get a sale?
Thanks for your questions Nate.
1. Limited time offers do tend to work if you promote them very proactively. It will take more than telling a few people. A very strategic marketing approach is called for. Outline all the ways you can market such as social networks, blogging, tweeting, solo messages to your opt in list, etc.
2. I do believe some people may interpret it as such and others just see it as a great opportunity to buy books. I love when I find the 99 cent price for something I want. When you see some of the success stories around the 99 cent price point it makes one wonder whether it matters what some potential buyers think. Sure, we need to always keep our market in mind but we cannot stifle creativity in marketing to try to please everyone. An author will be judged no matter what the price range.
I am constantly testing theories and strategies. If I waited to feel “safe” in my decisions I likely would never have the courage to test. I say, “Go for it.” Check results and adjust from there.
I love the $.99 approach. I use it for reports I offer on Kindle as lead generators. Since you can’t do freebies on Kindle, $.99 is the way to go. If you’re using it as a lead generator then you must seed the ebook with ways your reader can connect with you further on social networks or by getting something by opting in. Hey a dollar is a dollar so why not build a library of content people can get for a low price in order to get to know you better?
I think you need a more obvious “buy” button. In reading you posting I scrolled right by it. I think because it is just 2 lines above your illustration of your Kindle ranking, my brain processed it as part of the illustration. I got to the end of the comments with the question “Where the hell do I buy this thing?” still unanswered. In scrolling back I found the “click here” button.
I would think a better location (or a second location) might have been a stand alone button after your illustrations, at the end of the post itself.
Great point Jason. Check it out. I just made it more obvious by increasing the size and highlighting. Thanks for pointing this out.
Much better. I still would put a buy button right after, “I will share the results of sales rankings for 101 Ways in an upcoming blog post.” because there are going to be folks that will naturally want to read the rest of the post before they stop to buy and then the comments will catch their eye, which propels them away from your “click here” button.
I probably do not speak for the majority of your audience, but I am confident that I speak for the hyper-focused ADD types that will digress to whatever catches their eye next.
A key to success is to listen to valid points from one’s market. You asked! I listened. Much appreciated.
I like the 99 cents option, but what about nonfiction informational ebooks that are over 100 pages?
The theory seems to be working. Here are the current numbers
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,410 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Sales & Selling
#8 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing
#11 in Books > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Sales & Selling
E-book $.99. Live, real time mentoring, watching you walk your talk- priceless 🙂
The exciting part is there are still 3 days to go on this. Would love folks to retweet the post and watch this puppy go all the way to the top.
I thought, “hmmmm, if it doesn’t work, what will I say?”
Simple – My theory sucked. LOL Seriously though, business is about testing, trying, experimenting. My goal is to always do what you mentioned Cheryl – Walk the talk. If I’m not willing to end up with egg on my face by risking failure, I wouldn’t be able to congruently ask my clients to do the same.
Thanks for your comments.
I think it’s a fabulous idea. and why not sell reports for the same? I hope your book does really well.
and i just read last night that Kindle is telling everyone they can now see color versions – hope it’s true – maybe they were just talking about on apps and ipads and such –
Thanks for your support and kind words Angela.
That must already be true because Kathleen’s book in printed in red on my PC Kindle.
I wish you all the very best with the 99c launch, I can’t see it devaluing the book in any way if more people can get their hands on it and if you have provided them with value then you can sell the next eBook for more than 99c and achieve a similar number of sales because you have a new tribe of customers who may never have found you unless you offered them a low value option as an intorduction.
I am curious, do you know of a service to get PDF or indesign versions of hard copy books converted to Kindle and ePub? I have a cliend with 3 books, they include some images so this may affect the conversion process but it is new to me.
Thank you for your comments Justin. I believe Outskirts Press offers the service you inquired about.
I am waiting to hear back form them.
There are many graphic designers who do both print and ebook layout that can handle that process for you. There are some who now specialize in that. A quick Google search or checking the big freelancing sites should get you what you need.
I have found a coulpe of options and have requested quotes.
Noteably this site: http://www.pdftokindle.org.
Will let you know how it pans out.
I just purchased your book, Kathleen, and am enjoying the 101 tips you share. Thanks so much. It’s chock full of fun and sticky nuggets. A good read!
Thanks so much Mary. I thought of you tonight as we had our dinner on the porch. I know I still owe you pictures.
Kindle (Amazon) provides such a service. They converted my book, “The Street Shrink Chronicles,” to the Kindle format for I believe it was $69.
This is a timely issue for me and others I’m sure. I’m about to launch an Amazon eBook and I’m in the process of setting the price. The .99 seems like it would get a lot more attention from buyers, especially if it’s a stellar product. Higher prices may attract buyers who are more apt to spend on higher priced products.
What’s better, selling 100 books at .99? Or selling 10 books at $10. I think it depends on your strategy…ex. quickly building a fanbase @ .99, versus potentially gaining new customers that are willing to pay more for your products/services at $10.
I think the .99 is worth a shot for anybody. If they over-deliver with that ebook, they can probably sell it for more the next time around.
PS. I would sell my eBook for a penny if it got me a million dollars.
Excellent point on pricing. I know I invest a lot on both physical and eBooks. My postmaster is amazed at how many packages I get from Amazon in any given month. For me, I buy based on interest more than pricing. However, when I see something that I’m even remotely interested in at the 99 cent price point, I don’t have to give it a second thought on buying.
My experiment proved worthy of the time in that the book made it to a very respectable position in three categories. Today I am going to blog on the merits of the book rather than pricing. Be watching for it.
Nice, and congrats! What a great and thoughtful experiment…looking forward to the blog post.
I have a kindle book that I’ve put up for 99 cents. That was a little over a week ago. But just by itself, it didn’t move much. So I’m trying a marketing campaign—not an expensive one. So, we’ll see what happens.
What marketing strategies are you using Stephen?
“So what are your thoughts on selling your Kindle version book for a low price?”
I actually started selling less to none when I lowered my prices to 99 cents. Things went back to “normal” when I raised them to $2.99.
I think it depends on the book, the market and your goals on what the pricing is.
You’re NOT going to earn a million selling for a penny and believe me, once EVERYBODY starts pricing this way, you more than likely won’t even sell 400 (for example), you’ll sell 42. Because consumers will have so many options at that price point & only about 5-10 self published writers will earn any money from self publishing their ebooks to Kindle. You will just slave away for peanuts, while Amazon customers will reward you with 1 star reviews, because you all know how fussy & demanding & hard to please cheap customers are. Rule of business : the less customers pay for something, the more they try to squeeze out of you, the more they complain, and the meaner they are.
If you are already pricing your work at nothing then I’m sure you have already gotten some 1 star reviews from there (Amazon). If not, you will.
Also, if they can afford a $200 Kindle, they can afford a $399 ebook. If they are that cheap they need to get library cards or go to WatPad dot com where high school writers post their work for free. Or they can go to Quizilla dot come & read the Fanfic there for FREE! But they should NOT expect new, professional work for 99 cents. No way. I’d rather have 2,000 good fans who pay me even $6 for my work a pop then 10,000 fans who don’t want to pay me anything for my work.
Thank you for your input A Penny so Sad. Although you may not agree with the strategy, there are some authors such as Amanda Hockings, who is doing extremely well with this price point. For others, it may not work. Every author must decide for themselves what works and what doesn’t based on their particular goals.