Sunday, 2 October 2011

Kindle: The Jury's Still Out

Back in April, I hummed and hah-ed about whether I should start adding my books to Kindle. 'They'll sell like hot cakes!' I was assured. I was unsure. For one thing I wasn't certain how popular Kindle was for children's books. I did some searches on Amazon and noticed that there were quite a few children's books available to download. The idea grew on me. I was able to set my own reasonable prices for a start. I always had this uneasy feeling that my paperbacks were over-priced, thanks to Lulu wanting its two pennorth worth (got them there, though; being a publisher with Nielsens means I've been able to lower the price of Epiworld quite considerably to what I think is a more reasonable price!) However, in the end I was persuaded to go for it, so I added my first title Goalden Girl to Kindle.

After some deliberating, I decided to price it under a pound, a dollar and a Euro. After all Goalden Girl is only a short book, 160 pages, and I felt for a children's book that was reasonable. This eventually worked out at 86 pence, 99 US cents and 99 Euro cents respectively. I did all the usual promoting on Twitter and Facebook and the Meet The Author forum. I was pleased when sales started to filter through; I even sold three copies on the German site, all on the same day!

Then last month I had a very dry month indeed. I only sold two copies in the UK. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, so I promoted more vigorously, but still got nowhere.

I happened upon a few articles and comments on the Kindle forums that if Kindle books are priced at 99 cents or less then that's all the reader thinks they're worth. In other words, they're likely to be rubbish. This cockeyed psychology made me feel a bit cross, and it still does. If I go into a supermarket I won't pay through the nose for a big label, I'll pay less for a good substitute. After all we're in the middle of a recession and we're all trying to save money. I'd sooner pay 86 pence and say, well, I've not lost much, other than £2.99 and think, well, that was a waste of money. But there was the evidence before me: authors were claiming that as soon as they raised their Kindle prices the sales rolled in again.

I expressed some grumbles on the forum about my Kindle book not selling as well as I'd hoped. I even thought I was starting to bore people with all my Twitter tweets and Facebook comments. I was assured that children's books are hard to market and to sell. Not half! But I hoped by keeping the price low on Kindle it would help. Again I was told by some authors the pricing was wrong. Putting up my prices meant my book was worth more. Others disagreed. I dunno...

Well, I'm afraid I've given way to that cockeyed psychology. I've put the price up to $1.99, which in UK prices amounts to about £1.48 and 1,69 in Germany. I'm very sceptical about whether it will make any difference, but I'll give it a couple of months and if it doesn't I'm going back to my original pricing! Suffice to say it has put me off adding my other titles to Kindle for now. The jury's out as to whether Kindle is actually working for me.

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