Useful numbers about self-publishing and pricing your ebook

I’m asked regularly about (1) how much ebook publishers should charge for their book, and (2) what are the chances of a self-publisher making the top seller list?

Here’s some very interesting info that touches both, thanks to Yahoo and their 7/15/21 “Ebook Best Sellers Breakdown.”

The article included data from two top-35 lists about ebooks.

The New York Times e-book bestseller list (of books not also being on another bestseller list) had 14 fiction books and 4 nonfiction. The average price of the 14 fiction listings was skewered by the Fifty Shades Trilogy, a box set of the E. L. James works that sold for $29.99. The rest ranged from $.99 to $14.99, and the average price of those was $3.78. Only three (all fiction) were self-published: #13 [$2.99], Slammed by Colleen Hoover; #29 [$3.99], Easy by Tammara Webber, and #33 [$ .99], Playing for Keeps by R.L. Mathewson.

A quick look at those three finds Slammed published on 1/1/2012 and it ranked #13 7 ½ months later. Some interesting quotes from Colleen: “I hadn’t written anything in the past ten years until December [2011], when I got the idea for Slammed.” It took a month to write. She uploaded it “to get it out there for family and friends. I never intended to make money off of it or for it to turn into anything. Every single day of the whole experience has been a huge shocker.” How did it hit the NYT list? She first told others about it on message boards and Facebook. When it was reviewed by Maryse, a popular romance book blogger, it took off. (It’s listed at Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.)

Easy was published on May 24, 2012 and Playing for Keeps, April 29, 2011. The average price of the three self-publishers was $2.96.

To finish the New York Times e-book bestseller list (above), the four nonfiction books prices ranged from $8.99 to $12.99 and averaged $11.49.

The 7/15 U.S.A. Today bestseller list has all books in the list (ebook and bound) and tells which format sold best. Of the 35 listed, 15 were ebooks. One was self-published. The ebook price range was from $ .99 to $12.99; the average was $7.99. Where did the ebooks rank in the 35? They were books #2,4,9,12,13,16,17 (the self-published book), 18, 19, 20, 23, 26, 27, 30, and 35.

Thanks again to Yahoo.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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