The graphs and the data on the slides are generated from the aggregated sales data of ebooks distributed through Smashwords. These slides are a great source of market research into the indie ebook market, and they answer questions that most other market research reports would charge dearly for.
This one of those things that you should bookmark so you can find it again.
Key findings include:
1. Books that ranked higher in sales tended to have shorter titles, though there isn’t that much of a difference between the best sellers and the bottom-ranked books:
I wouldn’t read too much into this; a good long title is probably better than a short and crappy one. But if you can come up with a title that is both short and good, that’s even better.
2. Readers overwhelmingly prefer longer books over shorter books. The top 100 best selling titles were noticeably longer than the ebooks that ranked between 101 and 500, and the same general trend applies to lower ranking ebooks as well.
And no, there is not a typo in the chart. That gap in the data was left out intentionally.
3. The most common price point for indie ebooks is $2.99. Lower price points are nearly as popular, so much so that there is almost a congestion or clutter in that part of the chart.
Given how many authors are using the super low price points, it might make sense to price ebooks at $399 and above. That might sound crazy but sometimes separating yourself from the pack can be a good thing. And if nothing else, I’d pay $4 for an ebook.
4. Covers sell ebooks. A good-looking cover can be worth the cost. TThis is actually one that we knew all along, but it’s good to have it confirmed again. When one author replaced the cover on the left with the cover on the right, sales jumped through the roof:
5. The retail price can affect how many titles are sold. Here’s the other reason I say that a $3.99 price point is better: it actually generates more units sold (and thus more revenue) than an ebook priced at $2.99.
The interesting thing about this chart is that last year Smashwords’ data identified a $2.99. Now there seems to be a second sweet spot at $3.99. Given the extra revenue, that is a price point worth pursuing.
On a related note, last year’s data also showed that an ebook priced at or about $6 could earn more than if the same ebook were priced at $2.99. As you can see from the following chart, that is no longer true. Now the most profitable price point is the one around $3.99, with the $6.99 price point coming in second: