As an author, you want to receive a fair price for your book. You’ve put in hours of hard work to get to the publication stage, and now that the book is ready, you must figure out the best price point for selling.

There is no hard and fast rule, but a good starting point is to research the prices of similar books on Amazon and in bookstores. Overpricing your book can be disastrous, but underpricing has its downfalls as well. Oftentimes publishers will put a printed price on the book cover, knowing that they plan to offer a discount for most of its selling history.

If you want your book to be sold in bookstores, pricing it too low may discourage bookstores from stocking it. Bookstores are interested in making a profit and if that profit is in pennies and nickels, then they are not going to bother with ordering your book. If your book is priced too high, of course there is the danger of making few sales.

Do you choose fewer sales and more profit or lots of sales and less profit? It’s always a judgment call, but again look at your competition and, unless your book is vastly different, you can use your competition as a benchmark. Look at both highly popular books and moderately successful books.

On Amazon, the lower the book is priced compared to its retail listed price, the better the book will sell. This is because Amazon wants to beat the competition. A book that is listed for the full retail price probably has little or few sales. At the beginning, your book may not have a lot of sales, so you may want to go for the higher price point to bring in more income, if it’s needed. Undercutting a book as a giveaway may not only undervalue its worth but may also create the perception that the book is not worth owning.

If you are working with a publisher, this problem will probably not be a concern of yours. Publishers must know the best price points in order to make a profit, sell a book well and ultimately stay in business. You can rest assured that they are constantly studying the fluctuating book markets and adjusting prices in order to compete wisely.