How to price your nonfiction book on Amazon

So, you’ve written a book. You’ve spent a lot of time researching, planning, and editing your manuscript, and it’s finally ready to go out into the world. If you’re self-publishing on Amazon KDP (or another book platform), you might find yourself asking: how should I price my book? We’ve conducted some price analysis on the current nonfiction bestsellers on Amazon and will show you the best way to price your book for the current online market.

Why it’s important to price your books correctly

You might not want to charge too much, or you might want to charge more than most customers are willing to pay. If you charge too little, you put yourself at risk of undervaluing your hard work and making very little profit. But if you charge too much, you risk alienating potential customers and losing out on sales. 

Whilst you should have confidence in your book to do well, you should also do what you can to ensure it gets the best chance at success. Marketing and promoting your book will do wonders for your exposure, but this will mean nothing if your book is priced badly. The first step is to be realistic about your price points, and this depends on the format of your book, whether you’re publishing an e-book, paperback, or hardback. 

How to price your hardback

We’re sure you’ve noticed that paperbacks and hardbacks are priced differently. Many traditional publishers opt to sell hardback copies when a book is first released to make more money. Hardbacks are larger and cost more to produce, justifying these higher price points. 

The recommended retail price (RRP) for most hardback books can be anywhere between £14.99 to £25 depending on the length, anticipation, and genre. Many shops opt to reduce these prices with promotional offers during holidays, such as Christmas, or when the hardback is reaching the end of its print-run ahead of the paperback release. 

On Amazon, we found that the average cost of bestselling nonfiction hardback books is £17.98. 

How to price your paperback

Whilst fiction and nonfiction hardback books are priced similarly; the RRP for paperbacks differs between fiction and nonfiction. Traditionally, most fiction paperbacks cost £8.99 or £9.99, whilst nonfiction paperbacks can be between £9.99 and £12.99. 

Nonfiction books are set at a higher value for a number of reasons. Readers expect to gain a certain level of information from nonfiction books, adding to their value. They also buy nonfiction as more of an investment into themselves, so they will pay more than they would for a quick fiction crime novel. This can make publishing nonfiction more lucrative as the profit margins are higher—at 60% on Amazon KDP.

However, if you’re using their print-on-demand service, you will need to factor in the printing and distribution costs, which are based on the page count, paper type, and B&W vs. colour printing. For example, a 400-page colour book on premium paper will cost more to print and send and, therefore, will require a higher selling price if you want to make a profit. 

The average price of a nonfiction paperback on Amazon is £9.24, though .99p numbers tend to be more compelling than .24p ones.

How to price your e-book

Some self-published authors opt to publish e-books instead of print books, either for environmental purposes or as it can be cheaper to produce digital copies rather than print.

On Amazon, you can choose their 70% royalty rate if you publish exclusively with them or 35% if you publish on other platforms as well. These royalties are a lot higher than you would receive from a traditional publisher (5-10%), although self-published books rarely sell in the quantities that traditionally published books do. 

The average Kindle price on Amazon is £6.97, but e-books can be priced anywhere between £99p–12.99, and you can run occasional promos where your e-book is free. Cheap or free e-books are effective if you just want to get your book out there without making any profit. 

To sum up…

When self-publishing, how you price your book is up to you. However, under or over-pricing can make a big difference when it comes to sales and profits. When calculating these costs, ask yourself what your goal is. For example, if you’re a new author and just want to get your book out into the world, you could price it lower to encourage more sales. 

Also bear in mind how your prices balance with each other (unless you’re running a promo), and whether you want to encourage paperback or e-book sales. For example, if your e-book is only a pound or two less than your paperback, readers will be more likely to buy the paperback. But if you want to encourage e-book sales to get increased royalties on the KDP 70% option, then set your e-book price significantly lower than your paperback.

 Whatever you decide, make sure it’s the right decision for you. 

By Peri Cimen