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Help with pricing an e-book





My hus­band and I are chess coaches, spe­cial­iz­ing in teach­ing chil­dren. We recently started a new busi­ness (Your Chess Coach) and are build­ing a web­site where we plan to sell lessons designed to help par­ents teach a very young child.

This is one in Minutecoach’s LinkedIn Q&A Best Answers series, widened out and rewrit­ten for those not on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read the orig­i­nal, you can use the link at the end of the article.

Peo­ple see your e-book before they print it
Con­struct­ing an e-book from poor fonts with poor typog­ra­phy and lay­out, ‘Hi there!’ lan­guage, and lib­eral up-selling of other prod­ucts prac­ti­cally guar­an­tees your e-book will be printed on econ­omy, sta­pled together and stuffed in a drawer.

You could go for some­thing with cre­ative, high qual­ity typog­ra­phy and lay­out, a con­ver­sa­tion rather than pushy con­ver­sion, some­thing to print on nicer paper and clip into a folder, or clip to the fridge with a magnet.

Still, why bother? I hear you say. Unless you are view­ing expo­sure as your goal, and you have other stuff to sell, you want peo­ple to pay for and down­load their own copy. The point is that many e-books will do the rounds passed per­son to per­son, whereas the thing you want pass­ing per­son to per­son is the rec­om­men­da­tion and a link.

e-book copy protection

Our orig­i­nal answer sug­gested ignor­ing copy pro­tec­tion issues other than at the down­load site, where one could use e-junkie and ser­ial num­bers. You have to be real­is­tic and realise that your e-book will be printed and pho­to­copied, scanned and emailed by ‘lib­er­a­tors’ if you over­price, or if you under­price… all part of per­ceived value. You may be far bet­ter to make the copy highly per­son­alised, so there is dis­in­cen­tive to pass the e-book rather than pass the link, because of an enhanced sense of own­er­ship. Then qual­ity of design mat­ters, because nobody wants their mono­gram on poor look­ing product.

e-book per­son­al­i­sa­tion

You could do this per­son­al­i­sa­tion by hav­ing a ‘club’ appli­ca­tion form that col­lects data such as first name, male or female, age, favorite color, etc. and then processes that data through an XSLT stylesheet to gen­er­ate a per­son­alised Microsoft Word or pdf doc­u­ment down­load, all styled up. One pro­gram to help you do this is EZxslt, it can be used with­out great tech­ni­cal prowess.

So, per­son­al­i­sa­tion done. When a friend’s daugh­ter gets her copy, with tips and asides “Laura, if you are find­ing it hard to remem­ber how the knight moves, remem­ber, it always ends up on the oppo­site color it starts from…” and with “Laura, Guess What?!” “Judit Pol­gar won the ____ when she was only eight years older than you!”… rather than a generic, cheery, patro­n­is­ing “Did you know?…” Well, guess what? Hav­ing seen that copy on the fridge, just give me the address, I’ll go get my own. My son also wants to learn chess, play gui­tar, make paper aero­planes etc. too — but with his own copy, thank you very much.

Opti­mum e-book pricing

For the orig­i­nal ques­tion it was sug­gested that pric­ing above cer­tain lev­els might need fam­ily jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, con­se­quently requir­ing more effort in per­sua­sion. What­ever your e-book propo­si­tion, per­ceived value is the area to con­cen­trate on because that’s where the risk of non pur­chase is. Per­son­al­i­sa­tion could help with improv­ing this, and could set your range of prod­ucts apart from oth­ers’ sim­i­lar offerings.


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