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Marketing Tactics > Paperback book prices by third parties

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message 1: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments Hi all . . . I'd like to get your opinions on third party intervention on the selling price (retail) of a book. For example: If I sell a book for $25 and mass distribute the said book for maximum exposure, I am leaving myself open to the third party to sell the book for whatever price they want. I got around this by not allowing third party distribution. I have control over the price, but my exposure is smaller. I want to get your thoughts. Thanks


message 2: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Fried | 32 comments I'm not sure what you mean by "mass distribute the said book for max exposure." Do you mean copies you give away for possible reviews, or in the hopes that the readers will talk the book up to others? If that's what you mean, have a stamp made that says "Complimentary Copy - Not for resale" and stamp the title page with it. That will cut down on the problem significantly.


message 3: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments Dennis wrote: "I'm not sure what you mean by "mass distribute the said book for max exposure." Do you mean copies you give away for possible reviews, or in the hopes that the readers will talk the book up to othe..."
Hi Dennis . . . Through CreateSpace, you have the option of extended distribution, but if third parties distribute your book, they control the price. For example, my book is in a large chain supermarket (in their book department). When I had it under expanded distribution, they picked it up through Ingram and the price was set far below what I wanted. Ingram controlled the price. I lost control. I had to delete third party distributors to control the price point I wanted.


message 4: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments One of my books is for sale through a third party source for like $225! I don't worry about it because people barely buy my book at the price I have it so I know they won't buy it for that ridiculous price lol.


message 5: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments That's crazy! Like I mentioned, my book, which is listed retail at $25,
came out at $11 when a big brick and mortar store brought it in
from Ingram. They could not change the price in the store, so I had
to take control myself. Now I'm the distributor for that store as well
as other outlets.


message 6: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments I would go for expanded. Twenty five is way too much for a paperback. Hardcovers are less as well.


message 7: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Limiting expanded distribution will do nothing about third party sellers, but you shouldn't worry about them. They have to have product to sell, meaning they have to purchase your book to sell it*, meaning you make the same royalty as you would from any other sale.

*To sell,not list. Often these people list your book hoping someone will be dumb enough to buy it at the higher price, then they buy direct and sell


message 8: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments Hmm . . . A bookstore suggested I sell the book for a certain price ($25). They have sold a few copies at this price. She also said that should be the price wherever the book sells because if readers can buy the book for a different price at a different store they'll wonder, "What's going on?" What do you think, Christina? I don't mind selling the book for that price because it took 5 years to write the thing.


message 9: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 356 comments I don’t make the same royalty through expanded distribution as I do through regular sales.


message 10: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Frank wrote: "Hmm . . . A bookstore suggested I sell the book for a certain price ($25). They have sold a few copies at this price. She also said that should be the price wherever the book sells because if reade..."

Sorry,I misread your initial post. I thought the third party was marking up your book (as they often do), but instead it sounds like you want to mark up your book at a high price and not allow for vendors to set it lower. My personal thought here is that you're your only competition here and you're likely restricting your own sales. As ML noted,that's a high price for a paperback. You'll likely find you sell more when your book is priced more in line with market values.


message 11: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments Well, when the bookstore owner suggested that price I initially balked, but went with what she suggested. Ok, so this is a book of poetry and prose ( a poem precedes each story), it's 291 pages, and has a gorgeous cover that my wife painted. What do you think it should be priced at? Ingram came in at 13 Canadian dollars and change. What do you think the price point should be? Thanks in advance . . .


message 12: by Alexander (new)

Alexander (alex_ward) | 7 comments Frank wrote: "Well, when the bookstore owner suggested that price I initially balked, but went with what she suggested. Ok, so this is a book of poetry and prose ( a poem precedes each story), it's 291 pages, an..."

Honestly, it's irrelevant who created the cover. Do your readers buy a painting or a book? Not to mention that cover is not manually painted on each and every book - it's only an image you're using to sell your creation at this point.
From both a reader's and a writer's perspective, for 291 pages, I would barely give £15 and for what sounds to be a short story collection I'm still being generous.
There are novels over 1000 pages / volume which are sold with £10 in paperback.
I am a writer as well and I know what it means to spend years writing your book and being invested in it so much that it basically turns into your baby. But through publishing, I also think about the ones who might want to read my book and when I price it, I must do justice by them too.
Setting your book to such a high price won't attract readers, more like deter them. I'd suggest you take a look at the printing costs and then try to set a price that's not double that.
Marketing through the proper channels will help you sell more at a lower price and in the long run, you'll be the one to gain from it.
But at the end of the day, it's your pick. You can have five people buying your book at 25 dollars or a 100 at 15 dollars.


message 13: by Alexander (new)

Alexander (alex_ward) | 7 comments Also, by the looks of it, it's your first book and you have no reviews or ratings onit.
Before purchasing a book, I usually check Goodreads first for reviews, to see if the book is worth it or not or if I might enjoy the subject that's been approached.
However, even if there are no reviews, if the price would be, let's say... £5 for a new release, I'd still buy it, because it's not that much and if it turns out I don't enjoy it, I won't feel like I've wasted too much on it.
On the other hand, having zero reviews and such a high price it would totally deter me from buying the book.
That's just an humble opinion. At the end of the day, it's your book and you know better what might or not work for you! :)


message 14: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments Hi Alexander . . . Thanks for your ideas. I have two reviews on Amazon, and they're both positive. I have had other readers try to put reviews on Amazon and they had problems so I said not to bother. I am going to review the price point. I am also thinking of publishing the book using IngramSpark and am wondering if I'm allowed to do that. You know, have the book published by two different POD publishers. What do you think? I appreciate your thoughts!


message 15: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Beverly (writesistah) | 54 comments I once had the paperback version of my book that I have advertised at $9.99 advertised on a website at $21.00. I told them that I didn't want it advertised at that price. As Alexander stated, I'd rather sell 100 books at $15.00. Or in my case, $9.99.


message 16: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments Okay. I have worked with a publisher and I have self published.

I was, at one time, publishing some of my books myself through Lulu Publishing. It works similar to CreateSpace but without a large foothold for in store signings. I set a price at what I wanted the book to sell for based off how much it costs to get the book printed and shipped to people. It is a print on demand service. BECAUSE it's a print on demand service, many of the third party distribution places listed it for only a few dollars more than my desired listing price.

The publisher I go through, however, is a totally different story. I got little to no say on what price I wanted to list it for. They did a markup for them then factored in a certain percent of what they wanted to pay me. (pennies on the dollar. I average $5 a quarter in what I make). They don't market, I do most of the leg work, and I have to pay almost what everyone else pays in order to get my copies mailed out to me to sell and sign at conventions.

What I learned through both of these is that no matter which route you take, if you are wanting to get a lot of your books on the market and do expanded distribution, there aren't a lot of ways to guarantee it's listed for what you want. You may have to roll the dice and just find something you'd like to do.

On that note, I am trying to get signed over to a local publisher in my city that WILL help make sure my pricing is set by helping me customize my print options and work with a local printer to lower costs. Just find something that works for you. I can't spend a lot on marketing time (full time job) and so having someone help me is worth the extra costs.


message 17: by Marie Silk (last edited Aug 13, 2018 01:32PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments I publish to Createspace for Amazon-only and to Ingram for expanded distribution stores like Barnes and Noble and Book Depository. When selling at non-Amazon stores, the royalties are better from Ingram than Createspace. Ingram has a setup fee of $50 per title (possibly waived by a coupon code) and you have to publish with your own ISBN (not the one Createspace assigned your book).

My own paperback books average 180 pages with a 5X8 trim size and sell at a retail price of 9.95 USD. I think the retail price for a book like yours might average around $12-ish to maybe $15 at the most. It's all up to you how you do it, but limiting distribution and setting the price high will make it harder for anyone to find or buy. Paperback book prices generally end in a ".95" so maybe 11.95 would be a good place to start, unless you have full color photo pages, in which case the price could be a little higher to offset printing costs.

I'm not sure why someone would tell you a book shouldn't be different prices at different retailers because that's pretty normal. It doesn't make any difference to me how 3rd party sellers list my book.


message 18: by Alexander (new)

Alexander (alex_ward) | 7 comments Frank wrote: "Hi Alexander . . . Thanks for your ideas. I have two reviews on Amazon, and they're both positive. I have had other readers try to put reviews on Amazon and they had problems so I said not to bothe..."

I don't know anything about Ingram, so I couldn't advise you on that.


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I'd agree with Alexander. A book is not a unique piece of art, so you aren't pricing it for the highest bidder. There is no limit to the number of books you can sell, so trying to maximize how much you make per book will only minimize your sales. At 290 pages, your cost through Createspace is roughly $4, meaning if you set your price to $10 you would make around $2-3 per book sold,which is average for a self-pub (trad make a lower percentage as there are more costs to factor in). Bumping it up to $12 or so won't put you too far outside normal, but keep in mind, poetry and shorts will not sell as much as a full length novel unless you're a literature professor and have the ability to assign your own book as required reading (and if you are, don't do that).

And to be fair, paperbacks are not where you want to be looking to make the bulk of your earnings. Ebooks are going to give you a higher royalty with a lower sale price because there is no physical materials cost involved.


message 20: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments This is all great advice. Thanks so much! To be fair, it is a novel, but it is a collection of connected stories with a poem that precedes each story or chapter. The e-book I recently published didn't work out because it is difficult to get the lines correct for the poems. I mean, it's ok, all the prose is fine (I think), but I know the poems have the odd line or two that are offset even though they looked good on my Kindle Previewer. I don't have an e-book device myself. I always write a poem to precede each chapter because it gives me another angle of thought, another way to get across a different perspective to the reader, plus, it gives me a break from the prose.

It is interesting that you mentioned that a book is not a unique piece of art, fair enough, but with the addition of poetry, and the connotative nature of a poem, it brings a whole different dimension to a literary artwork, yet, you are right, one of my books is identical to another. Thanks again!


message 21: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments This is all great advice. Thanks so much! To be fair, it is a novel, but it is a collection of connected stories with a poem that precedes each story or chapter. The e-book I recently published didn't work out because it is difficult to get the lines correct for the poems. I mean, it's ok, all the prose is fine (I think), but I know the poems have the odd line or two that are offset even though they looked good on my Kindle Previewer. I don't have an e-book device myself. I always write a poem to precede each chapter because it gives me another angle of thought, another way to get across a different perspective to the reader, plus, it gives me a break from the prose.

It is interesting that you mentioned that a book is not a unique piece of art, fair enough, but with the addition of poetry, and the connotative nature of a poem, it brings a whole different dimension to a literary artwork, yet, you are right, one of my books is identical to another. Thanks again!


message 22: by Lewis (new)

Lewis Jordan | 15 comments Out of curiosity; how much do anthology’s of poetry and short stories written by debut authors normally sell for?

It’s not something I’ve ever been in the market for personally.


message 23: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) | 15 comments That's a good question. I like writing combo poetry/prose and it's kind of become my thing. I don't know; it's the way I like to write. I am going to drop my price to around . . . oh say . . . $13.95. BTW, my books are selling at $25, but not that great. I'm going to have to figure out my e-book. The formatting is weird.


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