In most contexts, calling something or someone, “evil,” is a really bad idea. However in the context of marketing, I’m referring to the struggle to part, with maximum efficiency, the largest amount of dollars from the largest amount of people who might be interested in your product. Of course, it’s not wrong to want to make a profit and it’s not wrong to want to price your products such that you achieve maximum distribution and the highest possible profit margins. The only reason I’m calling the search for perfect pricing, “evil” is that over reliance on the search for price perfection has led to all sorts of horrific behavior on the part of large corporations. GMC’s “planned obsolescence,” is one example of the search for perfect pricing gone wrong.

Anything is good in moderation, with that adage in mind, let’s review some recent examples of marketing brilliance as it relates to pricing strategy, especially in the case of ebooks. Many people charge the absolute minimum for their ebooks, despite zero evidence to suggest that this will maximize revenue, profit or marketshare. In this blog post by Sacha Greif, you’ll note that the author achieved 1,500 sales in less than two days of his ebook – without distribution on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Apple. So we have one example at least, along with a host of evidence and citations in that blog post, that says when selling an ebook, you must offer two editions, one priced low and one high.

There is another side to the story, of course. Why not price things as high as they possible can be priced? If you read through the, Part two: premium pricing, this post by Jarrod Drysdale, you’ll see that not only is there another way to address the issue of price for a good, but that in this specific case, it also earned the author even more money than the scenario “A” or “B” which the original author outlined. So is there a right or wrong answer to the question of maximizing value? Nope. The only thing I will point out in this debate and the overall price discussion is that when in doubt, consider the long term impact of your price, your customer experience and the market at large. Walmart competes on price, one hundred percent of the time. So does Amazon.

Despite my personal admiration for Amazon in particular (they published my book after all) three out of the last four kindles we purchased broke in less than a few years post purchase. The apple products we’ve bought? Never a single mass failure, unless the abuse given to the device warranted the implosion of functionality. I say price your book according to what you think its worth to you in terms of knowledge or entertainment value. I personally have a failing in that I tend to underprice everything and reading those two articles made me think more about pricing strategies and how ebook pricing in particular is are truly subjective.

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