Pricing Digital Content

vintage toy cash register

I sell digital content. I’m selling lots and lots more of it in 2011. For instance, at Kitchen Table Companies, we sell an ebook for $97. It’s amazing how many times I hear, “I’m not paying a hundred bucks for a hundred pages. Regular books only cost around twenty bucks and they’re made of PAPER!”

Er, um, what the book is made of isn’t usually what makes a price point. (Best book on pricing right now is this one, by the way.) Books are priced by what the market will consider, plus they’re priced by the perceived delivered value of the contents within. One part of pricing is always kind of random, unless you’re a stats and research freak, and I am not.

Be VERY wary of pricing your digital content really low. I just read a bit in USA Today about an author in the young adult format who’s moved 450,000 books, but she’s charging between 99 cents and $3.99 per book. If she’d even done the typical $9.97 that lots of Kindle ebooks cost, she’d have made 100% more money. You might argue that her sales would have declined, but there’s a curve (as there is in all math), and I just don’t know that she’s getting the best price.

Digital Doesn’t Equal Cheaper

Yes, you can make a digital copy. However, the CONTENT is what you’re buying, not the format. For whatever reason, people have made this change reasonably cleanly with digital videos and with audio downloads at the iTunes store, but books seem to evoke a weird spot in our heads. We seem to have a righteous sense of what a book “should” cost.

I’ve paid $147 for a really good ebook on affiliate marketing, and then paid another $97 (I think it was) on a book about blogging, to see if I’d pick up some neato tidbits. Yes to book A and no to book B, but the yield of money I got back from what I learned on A paid for A, B, and a month of my mortgage, because I used what I read in the book.

I just bought this book by David Bullock (the title is ridiculously long) – List Blueprint: Paint By Numbers Exact Steps To Build A Huge Mailing List; 5 Strategies For Building Massive Traffic; The Main Mistakes Almost Everyone … A Road Map For You To Follow! Mission-Surf (amazon affiliate link) for a few bucks. It has some good stuff in there, and it made me start looking around for some more materials, because it was low-priced, but another thing happened, and I’ll talk about that next.

Low Price Triggers Worries of Perceived Low Value

Yep, because I paid less than three bucks for that information, I found myself worrying that maybe it wasn’t the best resource. There was another book about list building that had a $31 price tag, and I almost bought that ONLY because it cost more, so naturally, I’d presume that they put more meat in it.

I’ll tell you, as an author, if I’m going to charge you $100 for a book, I am going to make sure you can reasonably stand to make $500 or more back from buying it, *IF YOU EXECUTE WHAT YOU READ.* (Books on fitness don’t give you six pack abs. Look at me for a case study in that.)

Never Ask Your Community For Pricing Advice

Hint: no one really jumps up and down and demands to pay the actual potential value of a product. That said, price in a way that signifies something to your community. Let them know what they can expect based on your pricing, and make damned sure you deliver.

How are you doing it?

Print Friendly