eBook pricing -- what do you think?

Dear Readers,

We've been having some internal discussion about how to price our ebooks.

Let's face it. We're already in the bittorrent library but membership in that not-so-exclusive club isn't really the way to fuel a business.

Most technical book publishers are offering ebooks at anywhere from 60-80 percent of a book's list price. We've toyed with (and we're currently offering) ebooks at 50 percent of a book's list price (or free with purchase from us), which seems fair to me as long as we and our authors are actually getting that 50 percent. The problem, if it is a problem, is that when our ebooks are sold through retailers those retailers take a significant cut off the top because they need to make money too. As a result, we get something closer to 35 or 40 percent of a book's list price, if not less.

It takes time and real work to create the sort of quality, handcrafted books that No Starch Press is known for. Our readers expect a lot from us and we aim to deliver with each publication. It's important to me that No Starch Press continue to succeed.

So my question to you is, what do you think is a fair price for an ebook? Figure that the print cost is perhaps 10 percent of the book's list price and that when we sell books to resellers we get about 50 percent of the book's list price. (That's why 50 percent off list for ebooks purchased directly from us could make sense.)

So I'm turning to you, our readers, to tell me what you think and to offer creative suggestions. We could, for example, price ebooks according to a timed reduction scheme. For example, they might start out at 75 percent of list price and drop in price every six months, as a particular book ages. Or we could stick with 50 percent off for those No Starch Press VIPs. You know, the ones carrying those special gold cards. Or what?

What do you think?

Please share your comments on this post. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for your support.

Bill