Data analysis: Typical author earnings for Germany – what are the most promising price points?

A few days ago, US aggregator Smashwords showed an analysis of e-book sales between April 2014 and March 2015. The results are pretty interesting – while at the same time being relevant mostly for the US market. That’s because Smashwords sells most of it’s titles on channels that are not that important in Germany.

But which price ranges have been most successful on the German e-book market? Selfpublisherbibel.de has a huge database of e-book sales on Amazon featuring around 40 million datasets. For an analysis, we selected all the data not older than January 1st 2015. First, the numbers:

Share of price ranges for e-book sales

Price (€)Share of Top 100Share of Top 1000
0,9930%20%
1,9916%12%
2,9914%13%
3,9919%21%
4,9915%16%
5,990%1%
6,990%1%
7,990%2%
8,991%5%
9,992%3%
10,990%0%
11,990%1%
12,991%1%
13,990%0%
>142%3%

You can clearly see that the 99 Cent titles dominate both the Top 100 as well as the Top 1000. Still it’s surprising how the 3.99 and 4.99 € titles combined already have a larger share than the minimum price titles. This trend becomes even clearer in the Top 1000 region. More expensive e-books do not seem to be significant though.

Stueckzahl_Top100

The picture shows the shares for the Top 1000. Of course, it’s not enough to look at the sales numbers. So we also analyzed the sales income, based on a 35 percent share for titles below 2.99 € and 70 percent above. Publishers and aggregators usually command a different share for the author but that’s another story.

Share of price ranges for ebook income

Price (€)Share of Top 100Share of Top 1000Share of all titles
0,995%2%7%
1,995%3%20%
2,9913%10%6%
3,9924%20%11%
4,9924%20%9%
5,991%2%2%
6,990%2%4%
7,991%3%6%
8,994%12%12%
9,998%8%9%
10,990%0%1%
11,990%3%2%
12,996%5%2%
13,990%1%2%
>149%10%8%

The table shows several interesting facts. First, 0.99 and 1.99 titles are not that dominant anymore, at least for the ranks below 1000. There is a new sales peak at 8.99 and 9.99, typical e-book prices set by traditional publishers. But also titles above € 14 do have a significant share. It’s really possible to earn good money with an e-book in that range.

If you take a look at the long tail, there is a new phenomenon: Now the sector at 1.99 becomes the strongest. There is no higher income at other price points.

That does not mean you should price your book at 1.99 €. It’s a statistical result that does not tell you anything about the potential success of your own book. Basically, it’s a tough decision: For 99 Cents your book stands a higher chance to actually get into the Top 100. On the other hand, if you manage to get into the Top 100 at 2.99 or 3.99 (and quite a lot do) you will earn much more. Your choice!

 

About Matthias Matting

Born 1966. University degree in physics, journalist for major news magazines for more than 20 years. Started self publishing in 2011 when KDP came to Germany, subsequently became the author of the Amazon bestselling eBook 2011. Started blog selfpublisherbibel.de in early 2013, now a leading information resource for authors in Germany. Currently working part time with a German publisher and as an author / expert / speaker / freelance journalist. Published around 50 titles so far with total sales of approx. 180.000, mostly non-fiction.

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