Thursday, February 24, 2011

The List Experiment Update

For those of you just tuning in, on Feb 15th I dropped the price of my technothriller novel, The List, from $2.99 to 99 cents on Kindle and Nook.

As of 2/15/2011 7:30pm, The List had sold 592 copies sold on Kindle this month. That had earned me about $1200.

Here were the Amazon rankings prior to changing the price:

#1,078 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#13
in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

#14
in Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

#57
in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Action & Adventure

Now nine days into the experiment, here are the new numbers:

#123 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#2 in Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

#2
in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

#9
in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Action & Adventure

So we've seen a dramatic increase in sales.

But is it enough of an increase?

At $2.99, I was earning $2.03 per download. And I was selling an average of 43 ebooks a day.

At 99 cents, I only earn 35 cents per download. I'm now averaging 205 sales a day.

At $2.99, I made $87 a day.

At 99 cents, I'm making $71 a day.

But in the last few days, The List has been selling stronger, averaging about 250 sales a day. If it can hold that number, or do even better, that's $87 a day--matching what it made at $2.99.

This is curious. At first glance, it seems like price and profit have found an equilibrium.

But there are obvious certain benefits to the 99 cent price point. Because it is now higher on the bestseller lists, it is seen more often. And 99 cents is more of an impulse purchase.

I like this book, and so do readers, and it's logical that the more people I get to read it, the more potential fans I'll make, and those fans will probably so and buy my other, more expensive ebooks.

What I've done here is the equivalent of putting turkey on sale for 19 cents a pound at the grocery store. The sale brings people in, then they buy other items that aren't on sale.

So is it working? Are my other sales going up?

Prior to this price change, I was selling 534 books a day of 14 other fiction titles, not including The List.

After the price change, I've been selling 547 books a day.

So there's a slight raise, which adds up to about $12 a day.

Now, this isn't a perfect experiment. I also launched a new ebook, KILLERS, this week. While I'm not including the KILLERS numbers, it has increased my virtual shelf space, and might be a small factor in slightly higher overall sales.

On the surface, this experiment looks to break even for me monetarily. But I won't know for sure until I get more data.

However, if The List does crack the Top 100, then these numbers could indicate that I'll make more money at 99 cents, both on that ebook and on my backlist, than I did at $2.99.

I've still got a ways to go. Last night, The List was ranked as low as #112. If it can stick around this rank until the weekend (when people buy a lot of books) then I may have a shot at the elusive Top 100. I've hit it three times before, but those were with new releases. The List has been on Kindle for two years.

Wouldn't it be amusing if it hit the bestseller list after two years of sales?