5 Reasons Readers Pay More For Some Books (And How It Affects Your Self-Published Book Pricing) | Self-Publishing Relief

by | Pricing, Sales, Self-Publishing | 1 comment

You’ve seen it happen: A self-published book’s asking price is less than a dollar, yet it never sells. Meanwhile, another self-published book with a heftier price tag is flying off the virtual shelf! Why are readers willing to pay more for some books than others? At Self-Publishing Relief, we know the secrets to effectively pricing and marketing your book so that it doesn’t languish forgotten in the bargain bin.


5 Reasons Readers Willingly Pay More For Some Books

Offers and promotions

Who doesn’t like getting a deal or a freebie? If a giveaway is included with the purchase of a book, readers are likely to be interested even if they have to pay a little more. And everyone knows the allure of getting something on sale, whether it’s a discount of 5%, 10%, or more. Limited-time offers also help increase impulse sales—you won’t have to worry about your book sitting forgotten on a wish list.

Some authors offer a percentage of their sales to a charity organization. This cause marketing strategy helps your buyers feel good about supporting a worthy charity, so they’ll be willing to fork over a few more dollars for your book.

Reader reviews

Great reader reviews sell books—even higher-priced ones! Since most readers will be happy to write a review if given the right incentive, try one or more of these seven ways to get more readers to write reviews for your self-published book.

Author branding

Strong author branding is another reason a reader will pay more for a book. It’s the story behind the story that builds your brand. This usually happens when some type of emotional connection is established with either you as the author or the characters in your work. How, you ask? Through social media, interviews, blog posts, book signings, and podcasts that build the credibility you need to sell books at whatever cost you choose.


Marketing is an effective way to entice readers to buy your books. It can also be one of the toughest, because many writers shy away from any type of self-promotion. But getting out there and connecting with your potential buyers is what sells books—whether that book is priced under a buck or over twenty.

Maybe you can’t afford a publicist, or you just don’t have the cash flow to attend a multitude of writing conferences to hand-sell your book. But a successful marketing campaign doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are 99 virtually free marketing ideas for self-published authors. Virtual book tours and social media are also cost-effective ways to promote your writing and establish your author brand.



As the old real estate adage states: Location, location, location! This is probably the number one reason some books sell over others. Whether your book is physically placed on the shelf in the local bookstore or virtually placed on an online retailer shelf, it needs to be placed where your readers can find it—otherwise, they can’t buy it.

For example, you wouldn’t want your romance novel placed in the sci-fi section of a brick-and-mortar bookstore. The same is true for online booksellers. If your romance populates when a reader searches for westerns, your book isn’t going to sell even if it’s only 99 cents. This is why accurate tagging is imperative: It helps readers find your book easily online. Both LibraryThing and Amazon allow users to tag books to better optimize search results in three easy steps:

  • Check out the keywords best-selling authors have on their platform.
  • Pinpoint keywords not only relatable but specific to your book.
  • Use these same words when you market or brand build.

How To Choose The Right Price For Your Self-Published Book

Now that you know why some books sell better than others, what does this mean when it comes to pricing your self-published book? Let’s use Amazon again as an example. Amazon sets a price for physical books depending on page count, color choices, and images. You can charge more but you cannot charge less. So if you want to lower the price of a physical book, you will have to go with a black-and-white interior, remove images, and/or shorten word count.

And check out the prices on books that are comparable to yours. If the typical price for a spy thriller is $12.99, it won’t pay for you to charge $20.99 for your book.

Digital books are different because there is no printing involved. If you are a new author with a small fan base, it might be hard for you to place a higher price on your book. Many first-time novelists offer their e-books for 99 cents, but keep in mind this can backfire. Readers may feel that an inexpensive book must not be very good—low price may imply low-quality writing, so they’ll opt for a more expensive book in the same genre. This is where good reviews, marketing, branding, and placement can make a difference in your sales. You can also experiment with price dropping.

By following these tips about smart pricing and effective marketing, you’ll have the best odds of boosting sales of your self-published book.

1 Comment

  1. Florence Mawanda

    very helpful – I’m a novice in this journey yet I have several books in my heart – thanks for this useful information.


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