Someone shared a post today on Facebook where a newer author (she started publishing this decade) was ranting about 99cent books and ebook pricing. In way, I get it. If I sell 1 copy of an ebook for $0.99, I get $0.35 from Amazon. That same book at $2.99 nets me around $2.00. Obviously, I can sell far fewer books at $2.99 and make more money than I can. And yet, there are readers who only pay $0.99 and readers who refuse to buy cheap books. How do you make everyone happy?
Pricing has been an issue as far back as the early days of Kindle and digital books. Many authors don't remember the price fixing lawsuit that the Big 5 publishers had or agency pricing. Even now, when I see an eBook going for $7 or more, I'm looking for a used hardcover or paperback copy. We each have our price points.
So what can you, the author do about pricing if you independently publish? If you're with a publisher, then you have very few options when it comes to pricing. But when you are the publisher, then this is an important decision to make.
I look at pricing in a couple of ways. First, what am I willing to pay? Secondly, what am I trying to accomplish? Am I leading people into a series? Then maybe that first book will be $0.99 to entice them in. Is the book wide on all retailers or is it in Kindle Unlimited?
Books aren't widgets. With widgets, you add a markup (like 35% for pet supplies) and that's what you make. Since there isn't a wholesale cost, per se, for books, then the markup rule doesn't apply. Instead, it's what do you want to accomplish and how much do you want to make per sale.
Personally, I feel if we focused less on the price and more on the marketing practices and business practices that authors use, then some of the concerns would be solved (like devaluing of books). Set the price where you want it. Be prepared to play with the pricing as you wish. See what happens. That's how you'll know what the best prices are for your book.