How to price books on Amazon

By Sharon Fussell, January 9, 2012

One question I am often asked is how to price items that have no price comparison on Amazon. You may well come across description pages where there are no offers because there are none of that particular title for sale.

How to price books on Amazon – a simple guide

There is no easy answer to the issue of how to price books on Amazon because it just depends on what book it is. For example, if there are no other copies this makes the item quite ‘rare’, but it’s unlikely to mean you can put a ridiculous price against it.

The dilemma being that it’s not about selling products as cheap as you can; it’s about getting the best possible price. So on the one hand you want to price as high as you can (without pricing yourself out of the market), but you do not want the product to languish on your shelves waiting for to be purchased.

So, if there is no competition for an item you want to sell, how much should you charge?

If you have no idea of its worth you can research the title/ ISBN/ publisher of the book, to see if other sites are selling that title, using Google. If other sites are selling a similar copy, how much for? You can use this price as a guide.

Remember, even if other sites are selling the same item – a USA based site selling the book for just a few dollars for example – you can still price your item higher on Amazon. Few buyers shop around before buying books and fewer still would want to buy off other sites, especially if unknown to them and few would want the bother of purchasing from USA or other countries if an item is available on a UK site.

Before pricing an item with no other competition you can look at factors that may help you decide:

Is there a sales ranking? If so, is this high or low? A low number – under one million – means an item is likely to be in demand.

What condition is the product in? The better the condition the more likely it will be purchased.

How niche is it? The more unusual the genre the more likely the ranking will be ‘high’ and thus not in demand – but it only takes one person in the world to want it!

Is there another copy available with another ISBN? Perhaps an earlier or later print run? If so, this will likely devalue your product unless there is something special that distinguishes it, e.g. a signed copy, a special edition, an unusual cover (a special printing with a leather cover not a standard hardback or soft back cover, for example).

Are there other copies with alternative covers? E.g. paperback/hardback?

You might find that your copy has no competition, but a title with a different cover is available and has a price on the system in which case you can use that price as a guide.

The same applies if there are several copies of the same title with different publishing dates. In the case of study books if there is a new edition and the edition you want to list has no sales ranking then its possible there is not much point in listing that item.

What if you have a niche item with no sales ranking does this mean no one will purchase it? Will it be on the system for years before it does sell?

Not necessarily, I have often sold items with no sales ranking, and quickly too.

I never just pluck a figure out of the air when pricing an item, but try to make an educated guess; I think of what I would be happy to receive, and what price I think a buyer will be happy to pay.

A paperback novel I would likely price between £6.99 and £12.99.

A hardback novel I would likely pitch between £12.99 and £24.99

I find non-fiction niche products sell quite nicely between £24.99 and £49.99.

I also use recommended retail prices as a guide.

There is a saying that if you sell a book quickly, you have priced too low and if it is taking ages to sell you have priced too high.

Remember you can start with a high price and keep lowering it at regular intervals, perhaps every three months or so, but if you price too low initially you may lose out if it sells quickly!


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