Understanding Book Pricing

December 22, 2018

Understanding book pricing from Jordan Silver’s viewpoint. Those of you who do not publish on Amazon may not know this, or how this works, so let me walk you through it, so you may understand. If you look at my website, Instagram, twitter, etc. you will see that I have on average, 2000 readers. Half of those readers do not buy books, they use kindle unlimited, which is like a reading library.

When readers borrow a book, I am paid less than half a penny for each page they read. So out of that 2000, I have 1000 or more borrowing instead of buying and I am paid less than half a penny for each page read in that book. And while we’re on the subject of pages, I have never seen advertised the actual page number of any book I’ve published. Ex. If I upload a 500-page book, it will show as 300-350 on the product page. A 200 page book may show up as 120 or thereabouts. I do not understand how this works so cannot speak on it.

Now for pricing: If I price my book at 99¢ I get 35¢ per sale. On release day, if I sell 500 copies, that’s $175. Let’s say all 2000 of those readers actually buy that book, then it’s $700. I don’t know about you, but I have to eat, pay bills, keep a roof over my head etc. Just your basic human necessities.

I have been using a system since 2013 that I learned from an established author who offered this advice free of charge on the Internet, in fact, I went a little lower than the suggested because I too think about others and what they can spend. It’s for this reason that I recommended kindle unlimited to my readers when it first came about. As a reader, I liked the idea for you, as a storyteller… I’ll hold my peace.

Now, here is my pricing strategy.

5 000-10 000 words $2.99

20 000- 40 000 words $3.99

50 000- 100 000 words $4.99

For a $2.99 book amazon pays $2.00 per book sold, at 500 on release day, (If I’m lucky) that’s $1000 the rest are going to be reads on kindle unlimited at less than half a penny a page, not sure about the math but it works out to pennies period. If all 2000 buys that book, that’s $4000 dollars, which is great, but never happens.

The books priced at $3.99, gain $2.76 and $4.99 books gain $3.06 in some places, in others it’s less. Again, I don’t understand how that works so cannot speak on it. The bottom line is, if I could give my books away for pennies and still survive I’d do it in a heartbeat. But that’s not the real world.

You want me to write, I want to write, but I also need to eat, and live. If you read this and still don’t understand , then there’s nothing more I can say. Thanks for reading.

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  1. vmlgrey said:

    Thank you for explaining the way book pricing really works in the Amazon world. I have been a Kindle Unlimited user for years. I have also been a Jordan Silver fan since my first book: Stryker. Every week my first search is for a new JS release, I am that addicted. I had no idea that Amazon was basically stealing from you, and other authors I enjoy. It’s wrong. Every author who partners with Amazon should have clear and fair trade. Knowing their Unlimited setup is basically stealing from authors, and they just shrug their shoulders makes me mad. I’m going to tell them that. I’m only one voice, and Amazon is Huge, but I cannot in good conscience enjoy someone’s hard work and know that they’ve been barely compensated—if at all! When I do pay for books, I naively thought the author received at least 75% of the cost, and I believed that was true using Unlimited. Now I know, I’m going to cancel my Kindle Unlimited and tell them why. It won’t change the way they do business, but I’ll be able to enjoy the books knowing the authors are getting my compensation for their hard work and dreams. I’ll be buying your books from your site from now on. It won’t pay the bills, but maybe the chocolate you can buy from the sale will make you smile, and give you faith that your fans DO love you and won’t tolerate you being ripped off.


  2. adille said:

    Thanks for explaining this process. It gives me a better understanding and all the info I need to continue to buy your books as well as others. I will ALWAYS buy your books. Got to throw this in there – Tennessee Heat?


  3. Ev said:

    Hi. I’m a kindle unlimited user. I was wondering (and hoping) that you, as an author, get paid every time I borrow one of your books. I have read all of your books multiple times. Some of my favorites I have read more than 20 times. I understand that buying the book is more profitable for an author, but I usually read between 10-20 books a week and I can’t afford my reading lifestyle without kindle unlimited. I do think your pricing is more than fair, and when I can I do buy your books.


  4. Anonymous said:

    Thank you for explaining Amazon’s pricing process. I was hoping that their writers would keep close to 50% of the sales but now I see that is not. I am a big fan, and I admit that I am a KU user. I read your works first on KU & more times than not, afterwards I purchase it. Would it help you more if I buy directly from your site?


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Meet Jordan

Jordan Silver is the author of more than 150 romance novels and novellas featuring over the top alpha males and the women who love them. She also writes young adult and new adult fiction under the pen name Cami York, BDSM Romance under Jasmine Starr and Polygamous romance under Tiffany Lordes.

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