Whether you’re aiming to drive revenue or maximize unit sales, running an ebook price promotion is a great way to connect with new readers. And if you want to reach BookBub’s audience of millions of power readers, you’ll need to run a limited-time discount (between $0.99 and $3.99) or make your book temporarily or permanently free. But how should you determine the discount price for your next promotion?
Like most other sales tactics, the answer will depend on your unique book marketing goals. But in this post, we’ll discuss scenarios in which you should make your book free, when you should set the price at $0.99, and when you might want to consider a higher price point for your discount.
When should you run a free promotion?
1. If you want to maximize eyeballs on your book
If you’re looking for sheer volume of downloads and readers, running a free promotion is the way to go. BookBub partners who run free promotions see 10x more downloads than those who run promotions at $0.99. So when your primary goal is exposure, try making your book free.
2. If you want to increase sales of a book series
Making the first book in the series temporarily free or permafree as a gateway to the rest of the series is a highly effective strategy. BookBub partners who make the first book in their series free see 8x higher sales of the other books in the series than partners who discount the first book to $0.99+ instead.
Also, if you’re considering discounting a later book in the series instead, keep in mind that our partners have seen a 5x higher increase in sales of other books in the series when the first book is discounted (than any other book in the series).
3. If you’re launching a new release
If you’re releasing a new book, coordinating a free promotion for one of your backlist books on or soon after the new release’s launch date will help drive sales of the new release. 63% of BookBub’s members have purchased other books by an author they discovered through a price promotion, and 77% also purchase full-price books in addition to bargain books, so introducing this audience to one of your older books can very well lead them to buy your newest as well. To ensure as many of these readers go on to purchase your new release as possible, update the back matter of your backlist book prior to the discount to promote the new book.
4. If you want to drive revenue
Since so many bargain readers are also willing to purchase full-price books, 75% of BookBub partners saw increased sales of their other books after a free promotion. Running a free discount on one of your older titles that may have slowed in sales can introduce your author brand to a massive new audience who will go on to buy your other books at full-price, thereby giving you a nice revenue bump. Just be sure to update your back matter to make it easy for new fans to find other, similar books from your backlist.
When should you run a $0.99 promotion?
1. If you want to try hitting a bestseller list
Discounting an ebook can help launch it to bestseller status. This is possible because discounting can lead to high volumes of unit sales with the right marketing support. When you’re trying to hit a bestseller list and your aim is to drive unit sales, choose the lowest price possible. Free downloads won’t count for many of the top lists, so $0.99 is the ideal price point if this is your goal. Our partners see a 75% higher sales volume at $0.99 than $2.99. We also recommend discounting one of your most popular books to ensure it gets the highest possible downloads, and coordinating all of your marketing efforts during a specific week to gain the most momentum possible!
2. If you want to increase series sales without making the first book free
If you aren’t willing to make the first book in your series free in order to drive full-price sales of later books in your series, choose the next lowest price point. 94% of partners who discounted a book in a series sold an increased number of other books in the series during the promotion. So making the first book $0.99 will still hook new readers into your series — you just won’t see the same volume of downloads as you would if the book were free.
When should you price high ($1.99+)?
1. If you want to drive revenue for your only book
If you’ve only published one book, making that book free or $0.99 might not make sense. Without any other full-price books to promote in the back matter, or any sequel or series books for readers to gobble up next, you could just be losing revenue. In some cases, if you’re just trying to build exposure, this could be fine. But if you need to drive revenue during the promotion, a higher price point might make more sense. Our partners have seen 142% higher revenue for books priced at $2.99 instead of $0.99, even though the volume of unit sales is lower.
Keep in mind that BookBub’s editors do take price point into consideration when selecting books for Featured Deals. It’s much harder to be selected at a higher price point ($1.99+), so authors considering this price tier who are interested in a BookBub promotion should consider this when making their pricing decisions.
2. If you want to drive revenue for books with a lot of existing buzz
If you’re marketing a book that already has a significant amount of buzz and you’re hoping to open up the floodgates or prolong the hype, discounting to $2.99+ might be a sufficient price drop. Despite the higher price tag, the discount will still attract readers that have heard of the book or have been meaning to read it but hesitated at the full-price tag.
3. If you’re trying to drive box set sales
If you’ve published a series or have an extensive backlist, bundling some of these books into a box set can be an effective way to drive sales and reach new readers. Box sets are usually priced to let readers spend less than if they had purchased each book in the set individually, but you can discount them to a higher price point since they contain multiple books. So if you price a four-book box set at $2.99, readers will still be getting each book for less than a dollar, and that’s an enticing price tag.
4. If you’re promoting nonfiction
Serious nonfiction, cookbooks, and coffee table books heavy on design generally see a higher tolerance for higher-priced discounts ($2.99, and even $3.99) because the production value is so high. So if you’re discounting a book in a generally high-priced genre, setting your discount at a higher price point can help drive revenue without dissuading readers like it would for fiction genres.
As you can see, the price point you choose for your ebook price promotion depends on the book and your marketing and revenue goals. But hopefully these recommendations will help you reach a decision that’s right for you!
How have you chosen the price for your ebook discounts in the past? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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