Four eBook Publishers Walk Into a Cafe

This morning I joined three of my fellow ebook publishers for a get together around a big table at my favorite Greenfield Cafe, the Brass Buckle.  Working on these projects, we tend to go it alone, so I appreciated Jeff Rutherford taking the time to get us all together to talk about some of our ebook successes and challenges.

Everyone has their own ebook niche, just like all authors have their own specialties.  Jeff and I work on our series of travel ebooks called GoNOMAD Plane Readers, and Jeff also has dozens of other titles he has published and his own line of kids joke books.  A few interesting tidbits came out of the meeting, like when you offer 500 jokes,  instead of 100, it garners an exponential bump in sales. People want lots and lots of jokes for the small price of $2.99, it turns out.

I have also experimented with different prices for our most popular title, The Italy Plane Reader. We started it at $2.99, then felt confident we could move it up to $4.99, and now, after seeing a dip, we’ll mulling a compromise at $3.99.  But what this really proves to me is after a few years of buying apps and songs for that magical .99 price, we are sensitive to this small increase.  I wonder how much of a difference it would make if the band you wanted to see at a club had a cover price that was two bucks  higher.  Would you demand that they play 40 songs instead of 20, because of the bump?

At the table were two men who have grown their own niches–one is Ben Zachheim, who created a character named Shirley Link, who is at the center of his line of young adult ebooks.  He once developed video games for Sony and for AOL, but now he’s all about the ebooks. He’s also branching out with a new series called The Camelot Kids .

Also at the table was Phil Billitz, who has created his own intriguing business, centered around what he calls hypnopoetics.  That is, hypnotic poems for hypnotic seduction.  Phil had lots of interesting anecdotes from his very scientific methods of doing A and B testing to determine just the right email subject lines and other ways to help sell the book.