Comparing Royalties

I started with the idea of offering my book Entreprenerd for $9.99 (eBook), $19.99 (paperback), and $39.99 (hardcover). I didn't want to make the initial price of the book too expensive, thinking that would scare away potential readers. Afterward, I decided to raise the price because some people seem to think that a book that is cheap can't be a good book.

After the first month of sales, I noticed that $9.99 and $19.99 were a correct price for an average eBook and paperback with 150 to 200 pages, but I was told by some readers that this price was quite low for my 400-page book. That's why I considered raising those prices to $15.99 and $24.99. We'll take a closer look at the impact of this price increase in a moment. $39.99 for the hardcover seems to be a correct price.

eBooks

The price of the eBook ($9.99) was inspired by Amazon's policy that you can only opt for 70% royalties if your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99. If your book is more expensive, you only get a royalty of 35%. Also, the 70% option is only available for sales that are closed in specific countries; in countries that aren't on that list, the royalty is 35%. This leads to a situation where you can get more royalties on a book that you sell for $9.99 than for a book that you sell for $10.00.

eBook Service Royalty on Comments
$9.99 $15.99
D2D Barnes & Noble / Apple Books / Tolino $5.94 $9.51  
D2D Vivlio $5.52 $8.83  
Kobo Writing Life $6.99 $11.19 The actual price on Kobo was expressed in Euro, and slightly lower than $9.99 / $15.99. I also noticed in my sales overview that the actual percentage on each sale is slightly lower than 70%, more specifically 64%. I'm not sure which factor I am overlooking.
Amazon KDP 70% (minus size cost) $6.88 N/A The 70% royalty is only granted for sales in specific countries. The royalty is calculated on the "net cost" of the book (there was a $0.16 delivery fee for my book).
Amazon KDP 35% $3.50 $5.59 If the price of an eBook exceeds $9.99, you only get a 35% royalty.
Leanpub $7.99 $12.79 Leanpub has many options that allow authors to grant readers reductions. Because of the 80% royalty, I offered my book at a reduction by default.


Looking at the first month of eBook sales, about 50% were done through Amazon KDP, 35% through Leanpub, and 15% through the other channels. A price increase from $9.99 to $15.99 might result in a significant drop in Amazon KDP revenue, but based on my first sales, I'm pretty sure that this "loss" will be compensated by the increase in revenue through the other channels, especially if I create some interesting Leanpub campaigns.

Paperback

I chose to use a single print-on-demand service for the paperback version of my book, Amazon KDP.

Print-on-Demand service
Sales channel
Royalty on Comments
$19.99 $24.99
Amazon KDP distributed through Amazon $6.34 $9.34 The royalties in other countries than the US will be lower because the production cost of the book is more expensive in Europe, Asia, Australia...

I also chose to use a single sales channel, Amazon. You won't find the paperback version of my book in global retail. People who want to read a paper version of my book, can purchase the hardcover.

Hardcover

I chose Blurb as print-on-demand service for the hardcover, and I set the book up for distribution on Ingram's Global Retail Network. When submitting the book, I entered 32€ to aim for a price of $39.99. It's up to the retailer to set the price when selling the book. I've seen the price of the book vary from $39.63 on amazon.com to 44.99€ on bol.com to $84.27 on AbeBooks. These prices are a snapshot; they are constantly in flux. What doesn't change, is my royalty. I get €7.25 (about $8.70) on each hardcover sale, regardless of the price readers pay the retailer.

It's hard to say what would be the best price for a book. I know that the books I wrote for Manning Publications were much more expensive, ranging from $50 to $60 for the paperback, and $25 to $30 for the eBook. Personally, I think that's too expensive. However, experience taught me that my initial pricing $19.99 for the paperback and $9.99 for the eBook was too cheap for a 400-page business book. About one and a half month after the release, I decided to raise those prices to $24.99 and $15.99.