What is a fair but competitive price for audible books?

Recently I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog, mostly because I am furiously writing away on my sequel to Maids of Misfortune. The title of the sequel is Uneasy Spirits, and I have over 90,000 words written. My goal is to finish the first draft by the time of the Historical Novel Society Convention, which is meeting mid June in San Diego. (If you are going to be there let me know, I would love a chance to meet you.)

But, today I read about a new service Amazon is providing with its subsidiary Audible called Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) where it is going to make it easier for self-published authors to produce audio books. For the year and a half that Maids of Misfortune has been out, I’ve kept saying to myself that I should produce an audio book. My book is a light read, just the kind of book that my busy friends like to listen to as they walk the dog or drive on their daily commute. It is also the kind of cozy mystery that is appealing to an aging population (as a baby boomer I know whereof I speak) whose eyesight makes extensive reading more problematic. But I have never done anything about this because I am already putting in sixty-hour weeks marketing the first book and writing the second.

I had considered the possibility of finding an agent that would sell those audio book rights (so someone else would do the work), but so far I have found little evidence that agents are at all interested in representing an author like me (despite my success) who isn’t willing to give up their ebook rights. So, an audio version has gone on that long list of “things I might do when the new book is out to its beta readers.”

Then came today’s announcement about Audiobook Creation Exchange. Now making that audiobook just got bumped up the list. But, before embarking on this enterprise, I felt the need to do a little market research, because I assume, like ebook pricing, audio book pricing is an issue for debate. Just doing a quick search of the ebooks that are in the historical mystery category, I noticed that not only did very few of them have an audio version, but those of them that did, often had the price set at above $20 (or very similar to their hardback price). On the other hand, when I looked at the audiobooks list on Amazon, and searched for historical mysteries, the books at the top of the heap were more likely to be priced at or lower than the paperback price (usually between $12-15).

However, these books were all traditionally published books, and I suspect that, as with ebooks, the prices set by publishers are not necessarily competitive and they might not work for a relatively unknown, self-published author. My ebook is priced at $2.99, and my paperback at $12.75. Not surprisingly, over 90% of my sales have been of my ebook, but, because of production costs, I really can’t put the price of my paperback any lower. I assume that there are going to be similar production costs that will determine the low end of pricing the audiobook, while putting it at too high a price might make it uncompetitive.

So, my question is, what do you all think would be a good price for me to charge for Maids of Misfortune when I put it out as an audiobook?

One thought on “What is a fair but competitive price for audible books?

  1. Can you change the price once you put it up? I’d put it at the higher rate and see how it does.

    You have a lovely speaking voice, too. It would be a pleasure to hear it while driving in the car. A change from the children’s music we tend to listen to, though we’re lately enjoying songs from the Little House on the Prairie books, sung in authentic style, which everybody seems to enjoy, including me.

    Sara Selznick http://threekindsofpie.blogspot.com

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