Amazon 47North – Pricing Analysis

“For our customers who are avid readers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, we’re happy to introduce 47North, the latest imprint from Amazon Publishing. 47North offers a wide array of new novels and cult favorites, from urban fantasies to space operas, alternate histories to gothic and supernatural horror.”

As I write science fiction, this is the area of the 47North catalogue I will focus in on. They are still rolling out the pre-orders, so the science fiction portion is a small percentage of the overall count. (8 books out of 35)

Even if we have only 8 books, here is the breakdown in book pricing:

$9.99 List discounted to $7.99

$9.99 List discounted to $3.99

$9.99 List discounted to $2.99

Yes, all of the above are ebooks with a list price of $9.99. All of them are discounted, with some more than others. 47North is one of Amazon’s newer imprints, and this shows in the pricing and discounts. Amazon is using pricing to help get a foothold. All but 2 of the books are pre-order and not yet shipping.

Interesting numbers on the science fiction side, but what about if we include all of the 47North genres, bringing in science fiction, fantasy, and horror? Here are the ebook numbers:

34 books total (One .99 ebook tossed out of the analysis as it appears to be the Indie novella version)

$9.99 List discounted to $7.99

$9.99 List discounted to $6.88

$9.99 List discounted to $6.39

$9.99 List discounted to $4.99 (One $5 ebook is included in this)

$9.99 List discounted to $3.99

$9.99 List discounted to $2.99

$2.99 List with no discount

$1.99 List with no discount

Again, the list price on 21 ebooks out of 34 as $9.99 is striking. All of these are novels, and all of them have the $9.99 list price, even if they are all discounted at the present time to $7.99-2.99.

Looking at the above, it appears as if the $2.99 price is edging in on the $7.99 price, doesn’t it? Only, on closer inspection it does not.

See, all the ebooks priced strictly $2.99 without discounting are novellas between 63 and 125 pages. The only novel among the $2.99 ebooks is the one with a list price of $9.99 and discounted to $2.99. The latter is mostly likely because of what I mentioned before: Amazon is positioning the line to gain readers.

Looking closer revealed a few other key things.

The novellas are not in print. Only 3 novellas together in a collection are in print, and the collections range from a list price of $9.99 and $7.99, discounted to $6.88 to $5. Meanwhile, all the novels are slated for both ebook and print, with the books having an across-the-board list price of $14.95, which, of course, are deeply discounted (but with print, Amazon is known for this).

As Amazon starts to sell the imprint catalogue and more books are put out, the pricing structure could change. The above is only what Amazon is starting out with, but considering the information they have on the back-end, it does provide a solid basis of where they believe the best pricing points are for all three of these genres.

(One caveat on the above findings is that 47North is a new imprint. It is still finding its legs. I’ll do another analysis in about 6 months to see how it is shaping up. I’m sure Amazon will be looking at its price structure a lot more often than that. Heh.)

In fact, studying the page breakdown of those books that listed page numbers (17 ebooks with listed page numbers), here are the findings:

Novels of 275 pages or more

Novellas of 63-125 pages

Looking at list prices, here is what Amazon is doing for list price in these genres for specific lengths:



Interesting list prices, aren’t they? Yes, they are all discounted to $7.99 and below, but I do find it interesting. It tells me Amazon has found in its database that these are the target prices it believes these books should sell at. I, as an Indie and small press, am paying attention.

Especially after the Romance Writers of America “Readership Stats” survey, which came up with the following little tidbits of pricing information. Please note that each genre has a different audience and reader expectations when it comes to pricing:

Romance E-book Pricing
From the data in the survey, PubTrack was able to use a methodology known as the van Westendorp pricing model to establish a bottom price (floor), a top price (ceiling), and a target price for the typical romance e-book. In the survey, they offered two scenarios: the first was assuming that a $9 mass-market paperback was available as well as the digital format; while the second scenario assumed that the e-book was the only available option. The results were as follows:

Too expensive
$10.90 (If a $9 paperback is available)
$11.73 (Only e-book is available)

High price, but still reasonable
$8.33 (If a $9 paperback is available)
$8.57 (Only e-book is available)

Fairest price
$5.90 (If a $9 paperback is available)
$6.13 (Only e-book is available)

Floor price (would question quality)
$2.55 (If a $9 paperback is available)
$2.66 (Only e-book is available)

Dean Wesley Smith also had a pricing blog post (The New World of Publishing: Pricing Indie Books…Some 2012 Thoughts) not long ago, detailing his new pricing tier. It makes for interesting reading, as do the comments section where there are other great observations and experience details on the subject.

Time to rethink the pricing, don’t you think? The discounted prices of Amazon’s 47North line come in rather close to the RWA survey.  Sure, bargain-basement pricing has worked for some, but for many others it is not working like it once did. We, as writers, think different than readers. Most who buy our work are not writers. It’s readers who are our ultimate customers and buyers.

Think long and hard over the $.99 and $2.99 price points unless it is a part of focused and well-planned promotion or marketing blitz. Notice Amazon still has a higher list price on the novels. There is a reason for that. They have a higher regular place and the deep discounts may not last long.

I know I’m going to get push-back on this post and the couple paragraphs above, along with several people talking about “but I have no name, I must price low.” Go hence forth to Kris Kathryn Rusch’s latest article “Audience” and see her thoughts about the matter. Oh, and also New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman.  Because you are ‘not known’ is not a valid argument. It is insecurities (Oh boy, watch the comment section now…).

The industry is in flux. There’s no doubt about that. It’s important to keep an eye on trends, to continually educate yourself, and try to do better not only in the business, but also with the craft. Complacency or gut feelings can be dangerous to longevity.

Write good books. Present them well with a good cover, title, and blurb. To add to the mix, we now have new information coming in concerning pricing points. Do your own research for your own genre or sub-genre. Pay attention to all of it.

And then, based on knowledge and not insecurities and emotion, make wise decisions.


J.A. Marlow

Amazon 47North - Pricing Analysis
A planet-wide conspiracy is waiting at Grandmother’s house…

“Always wear the red hood and cape while you are in the forest,” Grandma admonished.

For a teen with purple and red hair, and an attitude to match, the small claustrophobic city of Oburos grows ever smaller with Uncle Travis’s attempts to take over her and her mother’s life.

An invitation to visit Grandmother’s house, nestled among the giant trees filling the planet, gives Kate a welcome respite. But, there is no time for rest. A conspiracy among the forest inhabitants, moving trees, and other mysteries await her at Grandmother’s house.

Kate learns just how little she knew of the forests, much less its animals. To survive she must learn fast, and that includes trust and teamwork.

And just where was Grandma, anyway?

A Science Fiction 83600, 335 page (approximate) word stand-alone novel retelling of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”.

AmazonAmazon 47North - Pricing Analysis | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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Amazon 47North - Pricing Analysis

40 thoughts on “Amazon 47North – Pricing Analysis”

  1. Very interesting – and timely. I had been mulling over a higher price experiment with my historical novel, as that genre generally has higher prices.

    • Hello David!

      It’s very true each genre is different, but I was surprised how little difference there was between the Amazon 47North imprint and the RWA survey. As a publisher, the more research on this type of thing we can do, the better. It gives us a solid base for making good decisions.

  2. Thanks for this, JA. I had been pricing my works (sf & uf) from $2.99 to $4.99 ($4.99 for anything novel length), and was wondering whether I was doing myself a huge disservice, especially considering all the FREE and cheap promos around. The way I figured it, I am paying for two professional editors, professional cover art, plus my own time, marketing costs, infrastructure costs and, quite frankly, $5 didn’t seem too much to pay for a novel under those circumstances. But I had the nagging feeling that I was oh! so wrong, wrong, wrong!

    Now, as I read what you’ve written…maybe not. 🙂 I’ll just hang in there with my price points and see what happens. Thanks for the hope.


    • Welcome to the blog, KS!

      Good for you on already pricing novels at $4.99. I’ve been using that price point for novels, as well, but I’m looking at increasing as I put work out into print. The disparity between the trade paperback price and the ebook price just looks… odd.

  3. I altered my prices at Smashwords as per DWS advice a week ago and still waiting for rollout to reach Kobo. Rest seem to have changed. Next I will alter prices on Amazon. Will let you know what the results of changes mean in terms of sales. 🙂

    • Hello Diane!

      Yes, please, keep me informed! Isn’t it nice to be able to do experiments like this ourselves? Sure, some experiments might not work, but some will.

  4. I’ve gone for $7.99 on the historical and bumped my how to up to $4.99. I had been toying with this idea for a while, and it seems like the right time to experiment. I had seen little difference in raw sales numbers between $2.99, $3.99, and $4.99 (except I was making more at the higher prices), but had never experimented past $4.99. It’s worth trying. At worst, I sell badly for a couple of weeks and drop the price.

    One thing I have noticed, however, is that UK customers are much more price sensitive. Even the books from large publishers are priced cheaper there. I suspect it’s the same trend we saw in the US. Early adopters/bargain hunters being quite price sensitive, and authors/publishers gaining traction with low prices. It will probably mature in a similar way too as new types of readers go digital. I’m keeping my prices a touch lower there.

    • David, good point about the UK. I’ve never sold much there, so I pretty much pay it no mind. When sales come in, they are a very nice surprise. However, in the KDP dashboard it’s possible to have different prices in different countries. My problem is that I’m not familiar with the value of money in the other countries compared to the US dollar, so I don’t know where to start on the price points without a bunch of research for each one. 😛

  5. Except for a short story at 99 cents My two mystery and one dystopic kindle novels (under a pseudonym since I publish children’s novels under my own name) are $4.99. My self published softcover children’s novel is $7.99. Kind of along the line that you have to teach people how to treat you, I think you have to teach readers to respect the work (and expense) that writers incur.

  6. is a handy online currency converter. Remember to factor in VAT (sales tax – 3% will get added to your price, in case you are trying to end in .99) and their (current) fondness for lower price points.

    The UK was (really) slow to get going for me, but it’s now about 20% of my sales.

  7. I have had ‘The Black Ships” at the 4.99 price point since a couple of weeks after launch and it sells nicely. I’ve even managed to bounce around in some of the SciFi top 100 spots in the UK where I’d never sold a single unit until recently.

    I think it’s a good price point. It signals to a reader that you see value in your work, but it also shows that you want to give them a break in return for buying electrons rather than paper.

  8. Dear JA,

    Thanks for a great post. Like most new authors, I’ve been agonizing over pricing a bit myself. I decided to ask readers what they thought and in March sent a simple email to folks who had read my debut thriller and contacted me. It was pretty straight forward, basically ‘what do you think is a fair price for my work?’ It’s not a huge sample and I realize it is to some degree preaching to the choir, in that these were fans who’ve already read and liked the book. I share the results FWIW:

    1. I sent out 132 emails, and got 80 responses.

    2. Most folks gave a price range, but some gave a single price. I put the results in a spreadsheet, and where a single price was given, I used that number for both the “high” and “low” prices. The results were an average ‘fair’ price of:

    $6.64 to $8.01

    3. Very surprisingly, over 30% suggested prices in excess of $9.99. Several of the people in this category made the additional and voluntary observation that they hesitated to buy at my then current price of $2.99 because they figured it would be of poor quality.

    4. Accordingly, at the first of this month, I raised my price on my single book from $2.99 to $4.95. I didn’t go higher despite the response, because I still wanted to be perceived as a good value.

    5. It’s only been 10 days, and sales volume has dropped off, principally on B&N and Amazon UK. However, the additional margin has compensated for that, and I’m earning about 15% more revenue overall.

    I think it’s been worthwhile and intend to stay with it. The thing that really encourages me is that if I stay at this price, I can drop down to $2.99 for a promotion now and again and still stay in the 70% royalty range.

    I’m tinkering with the single book now, but I also have an eye towards this summer when the sequel will be out.

    Thanks again for the post.


    • Thank you so much for posting your observations and results, Bob! I’m surprised you got back so many responses to your newsletter question. So many people don’t bother.

      Interesting how the average price came out so similar to what I was finding. That said, I’m surprised how high a percentage suggested over $9.99. I wouldn’t have expected it to be that high.

      When I raised my prices in the spring of 2011, and again last month, I noticed the same thing. A little bit of a drop in sales volume, but I made it up in revenue. Even with the drop, overall, I’ve had a sales volume rise even after the price increase. I’ve seen writers panic when their sales stop for 1-3 days. This really does take patience to give any change time to settle out. To see if the new experiment works or not.

      Your point about having somewhere to go on the pricing for special promotions is a valid one. That’s something I’ve always asked about novels for $.99. Where do you go from there other than free? Having a little higher price not only gives the room to do big promotions, but also gives a real value to your followers. It makes the event special and meaning something.

      Thanks for your post!

  9. Thanks JA.
    By the way, love the cover for “Spires” – it looks as though the color gradient in the sky is changing when you aren’t looking directly at it.
    It really draws the eye!

    • Thanks for the compliment on the cover, Andrew. I have a lot of fun doing them. The artist part of me gets to be just as happy as the writer side in this new world of publishing! 😀

  10. thanks so much JA, and your covers I like a lot, esp the italicized JA Marlow ones. Youre like the cottage industries of eld… cool.

    I havent yet uploaded any ebooks, and still trying to find people to work with to help me gfigure out formatting and all, BUT, i did ask my facebook page people to email me if they read on ‘devices’ and wanted to weigh in on price point for ebooks of my books in print on paper. I was surprised JA to find most responding said 9.99. It’s what they pay for quality ‘full length’ work, according to them. I would have priced my work at 2.99. But now, I am thinking meekly, maybe maybe nearer 9. But the trade paper of my work is at $12.24 on amazon, and the same book in mass market is on amazon for 7.99 — so not sure where to price. Do you have a thought JA?

    thanks for bringing this topic up.


    • Archangel, I worked up a pricing tier that was a merging of the data I found in this post, Dean Wesley Smith’s that he posted a short time ago, some of the tiers mentioned in his post’s comment section, the RWA survey, and my old pricing tier. (

      I anchored the prices in two areas and went from there. The top price anchor is $7.99 for a long work, as I keep seeing that reinforced, even at Amazon (the discounted price, but still, it falls in line with the others). The other is the $2.99-3.99 price for novellas, as I’m selling those very well. Then it was a matter of figuring out how the rest of the word counts and and price points settled out.

      Each one of us is going to be different on this. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The great thing about this new world of publishing is that we *can* experiment. If it doesn’t work, eh, no one was killed. Just go try something else. However, if it does work, then you just found something great!

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  12. Many thanks to you J.A. for this piece. I am just now polishing what I hope will be a first novel, and am scrambling for information on how to actually go about sending it out into the world – and getting paid something. So in addition to writing I am now spending hours every day immersing myself in articles like this and those from both Dean and Kristine’s web sites. Trying to get up the curve on everything from query letters to agents to publishers to ‘New Publishing’ occupies as much of my time now as actual writing.

    With that as background, this is the first article with empirical data I’ve seen on pricing related to my default target of .99 (e-reader). Who knows, as a rookie I may settle there, but at least you have given me food for thought, and I will continue to dig and think. On that count, I would like to thank Bob McDermott for his response and data from his small survey sample as well. I am a business writer trying to make the leap, so appreciate all of your insights on the business side of making my dream a reality. As I hope you hear often (bad metaphor alert), thanks for cutting the trail through the thickets for those of us following behind. Any and all tips are welcome. MP

    • Welcome to the blog, Mark. Glad you liked the post. Keep reading and doing your own research. It will help you when the time comes to make the hard decisions before pushing the ‘Publish’ button.

      By the way, I’m not against the .99 price point for certain things. Right now I have two short stories at that price point, as well as a novella loss-leader into a series that already has 4 books total published with a 5th on the way in the next few months. I’m just not going to use it as a regular price point for longer works. 🙂

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  14. Im a reader not a writer, from my perspective no ebook should ever be priced higher than a paperback if a paperback version is available. Unfortunately, I see this happen fairly often on the apple iBook store that is my primary source, with amazon and B&N being my fallback sources.

    My fair pricing suggestion would be $1-2 per one hundred pages plus $1 for being a top selling book (excluding free downloads) from any of the major stores, another $1 if it hits the nytimes list, and $1-5 extra during its initial release period – not to exceed one year.

    • Joshua, I agree on the paperback issue. If I can buy a new one for $10, then I’m not going to pay more than that for the ebook.

      I rarely find the books I love on the various bestselling lists, so I don’t pay much attention to that. But then, what is ‘popular’ and ‘bestselling’ for the most part left me behind in science fiction 10-15 years ago. I’ll spare you the rant (Long live Human Wave!), as I’ve ranted enough about it in the past month. 😛 I’ll just end by saying that if I find a novel that sounds interesting, and the sample is good, I’m willing to pay $7.99 for the ebook of it. As a reader.

      But then, like all writers, all readers are different, too. There is absolutely no way that we will please everyone with anything we do.

  15. thanks JA, you’re very clear. And helpful. Appreciate the time you took to answer me, and others here. We ought to all sit down at the AnimalCafe sometime over dry-ice steam drinks, the infra-red ones. Do you want to wear the past-participle antennae this time, or shall I? They’re said to make our choices of verbs better. lol

    just wanted to make you laugh. Thanks.

  16. J.A.

    Great info and insight! I did something similar–raised prices on my novellas, and surprisingly, I saw an increase in volume.

    Thanks for the tips and sharing your experience. (BTW-I cane over from DWS’s blog.)

    • Hello Suzan! Welcome to the blog!

      I started pricing my novellas at the $2.99 almost from the start. Like you, when I went from $.99 to $2.99, I saw an increase in sales. Plus, for me, I felt good about that price. Having short stories, novelettes, AND novellas all at the same price point just didn’t make good business sense. It still doesn’t.

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  18. Hi JA! Thanks for posting this! I love how much we indie authors share our data.

    This is also very timely as I just finished up my novella’s stint in KDP Select. My take on that, along with my sales data for the first six months of self-publishing, is at my blog.

    The short-short version: I seem to sell more at Barnes and Noble than I do at Amazon. And while I believe I sold more copies of the novella through KDP Select than I otherwise would have at Amazon in three months, I don’t think I sold more than I would have at Amazon AND Barnes and Noble combined in three months. YMMV.

    • Welcome to the blog, Mercy! Glad you found the information useful. Thank you for sharing your data, too. The more of it out there, the better.

  19. Lots of interesting data, though I like to encourage authors to test things a lot on their own. It’s totally possible to read surveys and studies and come up with justifications for such-and-such a price, only to realize down the road that another pricing strategy works much better when it comes to real world application and one’s own books.

    I give away my first novel and sell the others in the series for $4.95. Every now and then, I tinker with prices, but $4.95 works well for me and seems like a good deal all around. Readers get a bargain (compared to traditionally published novels in my genre), and I take home some nice bacon. I might need to charge $8.99 if I only got 17% or whatever it is that traditionally published authors receive after their agent’s cut, but at $4.95 I earn $3+ per sale, and that pays all my bills and allows me to write full-time.

    Thanks for the article, and good luck all!

    • Hello Lindsay. Welcome to the blog!

      Everyone should do their own research, as well as their own experiments. We are running small businesses, after all. I’m constantly reading, talking with other writers, and trying new things. Some ideas have worked, some have not.

      The point of this post was to bring together what is working in a real-world application by a company bigger than any of us with more data on their hands than any of the rest of us have. Is there something to learn there? I think so. Will it work for our specific situations? It might or it might not. I think ignoring it would be hazardous, though. We should at least think on the subject with the logical part of our brains and not the emotional.

      Your series loss-leader is an idea that predates the Indie movement by a long ways. It’s stayed around because it really works. I do it myself with one of my book with good success. Congrats on making it work for you. 🙂

  20. Hi

    Found you via a comment you left over at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. And tracked back to this post.

    Thanks for the really interesting analysis – I know it’s a few months after the original post, but have you updated the analysis at all (as I’m assuming that 47 North have published more books since April)?

    The combination of this post plus Dean’s post has made me substantially revise upwards the pricing structure I was going to use for my upcoming series of stories.

    I’ve been reading a bunch on self publishing and writing, mostly writing, and realized that I was reaching for a $2.99 price point without thinking it through. Thank you for helping set me straight!


    • Welcome to the blog, J.J.!

      I have not done a new analysis yet only because I’ve been so busy writing. I do intend to do a new one before too long (hopefully) because it does give an indication of what Amazon is thinking behind the scenes in these genres. It’s part of the marketing/pricing research I believe is so important to do. To make decisions based on information other than here-say, only a few people’s opinions, or emotions. There aren’t a lot of studies out there on the pricing issue, so we have to gather what we can from the sources we can. Amazon has a lot of that information on the back end they aren’t sharing. But, we can watch them. 😉

      I’m glad you found the information here useful!

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