The Rise of the $5 eBook

By Jason Boog Comment

Last night, we counted six titles with a $5 pricetag in the Top 20 paid bestseller list in the Amazon Kindle store. Over at eBookNewser, we posed the question: Is the $5.00 eBook the new $9.99 eBook?

Publishers have used the $5 eBook like a lure for fiction series, introducing readers to The Hunger Games or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If successful, the new price point could drive eBook prices even lower. What do you think? We’ve collected some reader responses to this new price.

Andrew Shaffer wrote: “The $5 price (or $2.99, or whatever) is the mass market paperback equivalent ebook price. If the DRAGON TATTOO is $7 in mass market (or whatever), the e-book should be priced accordingly. There’s still room for $9.99, $12.99, and even $14.99 e-books–just as there is room for $1 fast-food hamburgers and $25 steaks.”

A reader named Greg wrote: “So as an author … for one $39.95 print book I’m currently getting a $4/book royalty. At the same 10% royalty rate, I’d have to sell 8 times as many copies of a $5 eBook to get the same revenue. I’m sure it will sell many more copies at $5 than at $39.95, but will it be enough to make up the difference? And is the author still getting the same royalty percentage? If my royalty rate is getting squeezed, how many more copies do I have to sell to make up for the lower royalty rate?”

Finally, Phibble Media wrote: “I don’t think the lower prices are going to work for traditionally published authors as Greg points out. Too many hands in the jar, and by the time it trickles down to the author, there’s only a few crumbs. For Independent authors, the prices can go even lower. Authors like Amanda Hocking are selling books at $0.99 for the first, and $2.99 for other titles in the series, and selling a large amount of sales, and money. Rumor has it she sold 100,000 copies last month.  The reality is that as prices come lower, people will buy. Those authors that choose to go the traditional publishing route will have to make up the difference in sales, which will be difficult to accomplish in the current environment- except for maybe the “big boys” like Stephen King.”