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  • How to Price an eBook

    Everyone from the DOJ to Amazon.com is weighing in on the best way to price an eBook. It seems like a good time to bring up our eBook pricing whitepaper again; especially in light of us commenting in an MSNBC article on the DOJ investigation. Beyond the struggles between the big players, we wanted to highlight what we’ve learned publishing digital content and help you understand some ways you can think about pricing an ebook — or even just buying one.

    It’s all about the algorithm
    Digital retailers have invested millions of dollars in developing algorithms for optimal pricing on their products — with one goal in mind — to maximize revenue. This can benefit of the retailer, the publisher and, in most cases, the consumer. In our whitepaper on pricing, you can see how these algorithms work. Depending on factors like the category and discoverability of a given title, a higher or lower price may get you to that sweet spot.

    But, what about control?
    Algorithms that magically maximize revenue sound great, but there are times when a publisher may wish to have more control over the retail price. For example, when there is a substitute product, such as a physical book, whose sales may suffer from heavy discounting. Until now, publishers did not have the tools or the fine control necessary to make these fine adjustments.

    Have it both ways
    The latest publishing platforms, such as Vook, give both the feedback (daily sales reporting) and the control (interface for changing metadata on the fly) needed to maintain price integrity of their valuable content.

    The legal implications of the DOJ and Agency pricing will work themselves out in time. But hopefully the publishing companies will soon be able to start “engineering up” as opposed to “lawyering up” — so they can begin developing interfaces and applications with companies like ours to make the most of digital books in a more flexible pricing environment. Take a look at our full whitepaper and let us know what you think the best way to price an eBook is.