Ka-Blam Tip o’ the Day — Cover Price? Think Digitally! Part 3

Have you ever really stopped to consider why you’re putting a cover price prominently on your front cover? If you haven’t then your thinking is still analog, but the world you live in is now digital. Consider this …

If your book is distributed to comic shops or bookstores then most likely you have a UPC or ISBN box either on the front or back cover and there’s ample room there for a price point (ISBNs in most cases actually contain the price in the five digit extender).

If your book is not available in comic shops or bookstores then why include a printed price on the book at all? If you’re only going to be selling it online or at comic conventions then no cover price gives you the freedom to not only set your own price, but to adjust it over time and circumstance if need be.


  1. We put our price on the front cover for the same reason we put anything else on the front cover: Marketing.

    If at a convention we decide, for instance, to lower the price….well, nothing underlines a lower price paid like seeing the “actual” retail price on the book. “Yes, it says $3.95, but at this convention we are selling them for $2.50″ does alot more to illustrate to your customer they are getting a deal than if you simply told them $2.50 was the price.

    Also, as a comsumer, I feel lack of a displayed price feels….deceptive. If a customer doesn’t see a price on there, they can feel subconsiously like you are hiding something. Or that the price is not “fixed” and that someone else might getting a better deal than them. It’s one of those psychological intangibles that affect the way people shop.

    And while we are on the subject of psychology..one of the most prominent factors in a customer’s buying pattern is PERCIEVED VALUE. If you feel confident that the quality and content of your book is equal to the price you set, the go ahead and diplay that price prominently! the price stamped on front is like saying “This is how much this product is WORTH” If you then lower the price for a convention of whatever, the message is “It’s WORTH that much, but you’re only paying THIS for it!” Simple equation: If VALUE is GREATER THAN price paid, it equals a BARGIN!

    A non-comic example to illustrate this: If I’m shopping for a DVD player, and I see one with no price…and I ask the sales clerk, and he tells me it’s 10 bucks..I immediatly think “It’s cheap..poor quality.” Because they are basically telling me this player is WORTH 10 bucks. However, If I see a player with a price on it that say $295.00, but it’s marked down or on sale for $10….now I feel like I’m getting the deal of the century! Because the label identifies the item as being WORTH $295. Again, it’s a subconscious thing.

    Of course these are just my opinions. And naturally the point of this aricle is to simply give thought to these descisions rather than assume the old standards apply. That said, I think there is a good argument for keeping a price on the cover, digital or not.


  2. Thanks for the comment, Chris.

    I wasn’t talking about not displaying a price though. Of course you should display a price when selling your books. That’s just good merchandising. At IndyPlanet the price is prominently displayed next to the item. If you’re at a convention or personal appearance, then appropriate signage is always a good idea. And of course if you’re selling to comic shops or bookstores the price WILL BE printed in the SKU box.

    BTW, your DVD player analogy doesn’t really hold (it actually supports my point). Here’s why … DVD players do NOT have an MSRP printed on them. Virtually ALL merchandise that isn’t for promotional purposes or specifically intended for limited shelf life comes WITHOUT a pre-printed price on the item itself. The merchant puts up signage or may even choose to put a physical price sticker on them, but the manufacturer — in most cases — does not print a retail price on the item itself. It’s the merchant who sets and puts up signage or pricing. Your “cheap … poor quality” or “deal of the century” ideas don’t come from a manufacturer-generated price PRINTED on the product itself –they come from merchant-generated signage.

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