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Down and Dirty with Digital Publishing

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Compiled by Alexa Schlosser, Managing Editor, IBPA Independent

Earlier this year, IBPA Independent polled the membership about their e-books. We were curious: Is Amazon still the dominant platform? Is there consensus on how much e-books should cost? How do you go about making an e-book special? We received many responses to the survey, and although it isn’t a formal study, we hope the following responses are helpful in building a full picture of the digital publishing market for self-published authors and small publishers.

  • “New releases typically enter the market at $7.99 and then drop to $5.99 or $4.99. After several months, I run some promotions with promotional pricing, then the e-books typically settle in around the $3.99 price point for the long haul.”
  • “$2.99 on Amazon Kindle; $0.99 on Smashwords.”
  • “The same retail price as print; most partners/channels already do a heavy discount.”
  • “I try to have them at least $5 below our print book price, sometimes with an even greater discount.”
  • “50 percent off from what I sell the paperback version.”
  • “$8.99, in alignment with other business books’ e-prices.”
  • “For new releases, between $4.99 to $6.99. For titles receiving heavy promotion, back-end, or just needing a boost, we stay between $0.99 and $3.99.”
  • “$1.99 for novellas; $3.99 for books; $7.99 for graphic novels.”
  • “I usually charge $2.99, but I like to have the first book in a series be free if the second book has come out.”

How do you make your e-books stand out?

“Good cover, often include photos or pictures, hyperlink the chapter titles in the TOC, pay attention to details with carriage returns, layout, etc. Creating the e-book is also a good way to proofread the physical book’s text and catch errors before going to print.”

—Kira Henschel, Founder, HenschelHAUS Books

“Metadata coaching is big for us; we use multiple BISACs, keyword coaching, and more to achieve success. Our clients can do a one-on-one marketing session with us to review the metadata quality and consult on covers and files. Metadata is key for discovery online.”

—Kelly Peterson, Director of Client Services, INscribe Digital

“Strong cover, [and a] clean, well-organized flow that looks professional and is easy to navigate on different e-readers.”

—Claudia Newcorn, President, Acorn Enterprises


“Solid covers, professional editing, and a generous ad campaign.”

—Tina Moss, Chief Operating Officer, City Owl Press


“I always include links, which are not possible with print, as well as color photos, which would be prohibitively expensive in print. A few years ago, I created a rich media book with video and slideshows using Apple’s iBooks Author tool, but I won’t be doing it again. It’s lots of extra work, it’s not cross-platform, and the videos create huge files for readers to download.”

—Ian Lamont, Founder, i30 Media Corp

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