If you’ve been reading the BookBub Partners Blog for awhile, you already know that the size of a discount can impact the number of copies an ebook sells during a price promotion. In this post, we’ll be looking at the relationship between discount price and conversion rate, or how many people buy a book after clicking through to its product page.
Why is this important? A negative trend would suggest that higher prices dissuade readers who showed initial interest in your book (by clicking on the link to the product page) from making the final purchase. And as we know, many of those readers aren’t nearly as influenced by price when it comes to authors they already know and like. So you could be losing long-term fans who would spend money on your books in the future if they did purchase and read the discounted title.
BookBub tracks both retailer clicks and sales of all the titles we feature, so we have a lot of data to look at when it comes to this question. And what we’ve found is that not only does a book’s average click through percentage decrease as price goes up, but so does its conversion rate. The chart below illustrates this trend:
We found a similar pattern when we looked at titles within individual genres. For example, the chart below maps only those books featured in our Bestsellers category:
Lastly, we compared books published by independent authors against those from traditional houses. Again, we found that conversion rate dropped off with price — though interestingly, the trend was less noticeable for indies beyond the $1.99 price point. One explanation for this is that many of the more expensive indie books we feature are top-selling box sets, which could skew the data with unusually high conversions.
A limitation of this analysis is that it only considers average performance across different books, so it’s impossible to completely isolate the impact of price without considering external factors. For example, the data doesn’t account for the fact that books with better platforms might be both more expensive and have higher conversion rates.
However, the relationship between platform and conversions would if anything suggest a steeper downward trend than the charts above illustrate. For example, the most popular books BookBub features may be both more expensive and generate unusually high conversion rates because of their popularity (rather than their price), skewing the average upwards at higher price points. The consistency of the numbers across categories and publishers also suggests a legitimate relationship between conversion rate and price.
This doesn’t mean that you should never promote your book at a higher price point. But what it does suggest is that the value of a steep discount goes beyond enticing readers to click on your book in the first place, and may hold sway when they’re deciding whether or not to put their money where their interest lies.
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