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How do you set up your e-book and what should you charge for it?  This article will show you what to do.

How to Format Your E-Book

The typical format for an e-book is about 50-75 pages, which is shorter than a typical paperback or hardcover published book, which is about 250-300 pages or 100-150 pages for a shorter quick read book.

So if you’ve already written or published a longer book, you can easily divide it into smaller sections and make each one a different e-book. These sections than can become stand alone books or part of a series.  Then, you can set a price for getting a single book in the series or the complete series, and generally your price for the whole set shouldn’t be more than buying a hard-copy of the books, and the price for individual books should be even less – usually set so if you buy three or more books, the price is the same as getting all of them – an incentive to get the complete book.

For example, I did that with three of my books published by iUniverse, after I got back the rights from another publisher and turned each book into a series of e-books.  I turned COLLECT THE MONEY PEOPLE OWE YOU, a 200 page book, into three books featuring the three stages of collecting money from protecting yourself against bad debts to persuading the person to pay to how you get tough with the debtor. I turned LET’S HAVE A SALES PARTY, a 350 page book, into seven books; the first is how to set up a party plan business, while subsequent books deal with how to find contacts, put on a great party, sell at the party, and follow-up after the party.

What to Charge for Your E-Book

The way to price e-books depends on the value of what you are giving in your book and whether it’s available at a regularly published book anyplace else.

If your book is already published, such as through iUniverse or a self-published POD book and the book is available on Amazon, you can’t charge more than for the books somebody can get elsewhere.  For example, I have three e-books in which I have divided up a larger POD book into several e-books of 40 to 70 pages each.  I have charged $10 for each e-book, with a group rate for ordering all of them, but that rate is no larger than the cost of purchasing the book at Amazon.  LET’S HAVE A SALES PARTY, for instance, sells for $29.95 through AMAZON, and is divided up into seven sections for $10 each.  But all seven sections are $29.95 – the same as the POD book on AMAZON, though the advantage is the customer has no sales tax and shipping, and the book can be downloaded right away.

The usual expectation is that an e-book will be less than $10 for a book in a PDF format, and even less for a book you can download on a mobile device like a Kindle or cell phone.  In that case, the usual pricing is around $3 to $5, and many authors simply offer these for free, as a way to promote other books, products, or services.

By contrast, you can charge substantially more of an e-book if you are offering special information not available anywhere else, which some people do.  Say your book is about financial tips on how to save money on your mortgage. If the information is not generally available and the book is by a mortgage broker, the author could charge $30 to $40, because then the customer isn’t just buying a book.  Obtaining this information is more like getting a private consultation with an expert and getting highly valued knowledge that will provide great savings.

Another example of this special interest pricing is the people doing Internet marketing who are selling their e-books for $40-70.  They are claiming to have special information and are making it seem very valuable, so they can sell it for more.  And they may be able to turn these books into even more income, because often these e-books are a lead-in for more advanced information offered through expensive webinars and teleseminars, priced at several hundred dollars or more. 

Some of the fields where you can charge top dollar include programs on using the social media to increase Web traffic and making money through Internet marketing.  But don’t expect to be able to immediately obtain such earnings, since the people charging these high fees are able to do so, because they have built a following and have gained credibility through the many different programs they offer. 

It can take some time for you to build up what you can charge to that high level.  Thus, you might start with a lower price to build sales initially.  Then as you get testimonials from satisfied customers, start to charge more.  You can also increase your charges as you build up more products to sell, such as by having videos and CDs of your programs, as well as an e-book. 

A key to building up to high e-book earnings is to find a niche where you are offering unique information based on your area of expertise.  For instance, some people in the film industry do this by creating programs on how to produce a film or sell your idea to TV, and they have put together a combination of e-books and CDs they sell for $300-400 a set.  And as an incentive to buy, they position the package as a recording or material from a much more expensive $1000 to $1500 workshop – but now customers can get this material for only a few hundred dollars if they react right away before the offer is withdrawn.

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