If it’s fiction, they don’t NEED it. They may WANT it, should you create an awareness of and a demand for it, but they don’t have to have it. Fiction needs to keep pricing down. Nonfiction books on things people really need – how to save a relationship, get a job, be a better parent, make more money, fix a house – can charge a higher price.
You can undercut them and hope to build up a lot of sales, though you’d earn less per sale than if the price were higher. You can charge the most and hope people think you’re the best by virtue of being so high-priced (some people believe this). Or, you can price it competitively and not let it be a deciding factor for you.
If it’s a loss leader and you want to use it so that people then get turned onto hiring you (if you’re a consultant), price it low. If your goal is to rise high on bestseller lists, price it low. If your goal is to reach as many people in hopes they read your book and their lives or views are impacted by it, price it low to average.
Does the book have a great cover, catchy title, and top-notch testimonials? If it makes a strong presentation, hold firm on a decent price.
If you sell it from your site, you keep 100% of the revenue minus your costs. If you sell it though a third-party website or bookstore, you keep 50-70% of the cover price minus expenses. If you sell it, in bulk, to an organization, you usually have to give a heavy discount. So depending on these factors, determine a price you can live with.
People will buy a book based on their perception of value, competing options, and their financial situation, so they don’t give a crap how much you spent to produce the book – only what it will cost them. Still, if your book costs x to print or create, you need to factor that in, especially if your book has photography in it.
Your book will be discounted by bookstores, Amazon, and other vendors. They will use the cover price as a starting point and work off of it. So don’t worry if the cover price is a little high since few will end up paying full freight. But some independent stores don’t discount or they can’t afford to reduce it by much, so be aware of that.
Are you publishing both paper and digital versions? For paper, are you going trade paperback, mass market, or hardcover? Formats dictate difference price points – and costs of production. Additionally, some retailers buy books from you based on whether they can return them and what, if any shipping costs are connected to the transaction. You don’t want returns, so be prepared to give a big enough discount to buy your way into a “no-return” policy if possible.