Now that the sequel Death By Tech is in the publication cycle, I have reduced the price of the e-book editions of Death By Probability from $3.99 to $2.99. The lower price is in place at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Apple iBook. Outskirts Press seems to have their own rules, so their PDF version will still set you back $3.99.
I surveyed the price of e-book murder mysteries on Amazon.com. In a sample of 100 books, the most popular price was $2.99 (31%), followed by $0.99 (22%) and $3.99 (16%). Other prices were all over the map, all the way up to $11.99 for some very recognizable authors. Thus $2.99 wins the popularity contest. Amazon’s standard 70% commission to authors nets me a princely $2.09 royalty per sale.
A few (9%) of the Amazon e-book mysteries were priced at zero at the time I looked; Amazon runs promotions of this type if you agree to only distribute your e-book through Amazon, and only for their Kindle reader (Kindle Digital Publishing Select Program). Since Kindle is not the preferred format outside the US and since some (perhaps 10%) of my sales have been through Nook and iBook, KDP Select doesn’t look like a good choice for my fiction at this time.
Do I plan to cut the price of “murder by paperback”? Not at the moment. The list price for the paperback edition of Death By Probability is $15.95 with a 40% discount to booksellers. Amazon sells it for $14.36, Barnes & Noble for $15.39. I receive a royalty of $1.63 on each paperback sale. So theoretically I could knock one dollar off the retail price. However, if I promote the book on Facebook (which offers the best targeting for their ads) it costs me between $0.39 and $0.55 per click-through to Amazon. Since only a few click-throughs lead to a sale, it’s a money-losing proposition to make the royalty too low.