Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

My Rebellion Against .99 Price Tags

Evidence shows that consumers are more likely to buy a product with an odd number at the end of its price, but does this make them unwitting victims of psychological pricing?

It’s my belief that this particular price tag encourages people to overspend, as they grab one 99-pence or 99-cent bargain after another in a frenzy of buying. In other words, marketing strategists have conditioned consumers so effectively that they can no longer perceive there is only one tiny coin’s difference between 99 pence and £1.00, or 99 cents and $1.00.

The ludicrousness of this becomes all the more clear when you look at larger purchases. For example, if you wanted to buy a dishwasher in the UK and one cost £299 while the other cost £300, a customer looking for a bargain would most likely pick the cheaper one, even if the £300 one was a better product and cost only £1 more. Even sillier would be the customer who fell for a tag of £299.99 and thought they had a bargain!

Did you know that originally 99 pence/cents price tags were used to prevent cashiers from pocketing pounds/dollars? In other words, if a customer paid .99 for an item, the cashier would have to open the register and give back some change.

I’ll move on to a product close to my heart. Books. When did anyone ever give you a book token ending in .99, and yet most books are priced ending .99?

As a Kindle Direct Publishing author, I’m actively encouraged to sell my books in increments ending with .99, with the sweet point for my length novels at £1.99 ($2.99), which will earn me roughly 70% royalties. It will also entitle me to run countdown deals for one week in every 90-day cycle, during which the starting point is .99 pence/cents but the royalties stay at 70%. The alternative is to opt for fixing your price at somewhere between 99 pence (cents) and £1.98 ($2.98) all the time and earning 35% royalties.

By now, you have probably gathered that I’m sick of .99, which is why I’m passing up the opportunity of the Kindle Countdown Deal to which I’m presently entitled, in favour of offering my two crossover novels at  £1.00/$1.00 each for a whole month on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com until the end of January. Please note that I’ve also adjusted the tags down to bargain prices ending in zero on all the other Amazon marketplaces, so nobody feels left out.

Of course I would be thrilled if some of you, who haven’t yet read Desiccation or Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, support my rebellion by purchasing one or both of them.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 🙂

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11 thoughts on “My Rebellion Against .99 Price Tags

  1. Sunshine Jansen on said:

    Is it only me that I actually mistrust the quality of a book priced at .99? Priced even a coin up, I think ‘That’s better; this writer actually has some character and a better sense of self-worth than to cater to a dehumanizing marketing structure”. So, huzzah, you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do love your sense of humor, but hidden in that humor is a real issue regarding pricing. The rebel in me hates seeing .99 on a price. It is a price which says the buying public is stupid and has no control of their buying habits….and sadly that is true for many.

    Happy New Year dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The trouble is that quite a lot of the buying public are totally gullible because marketeers would have discontinued using the .99 trick by now, if it didn’t work D:

      Happy New Year to you, too, dear Bill, and wishing you much creative success in 2018. successes

      Like

  3. Dale on said:

    You know how I feel about It! It is abominable and does treat the consumer like an ejit. Deives me crazy when a friend says it was only $300…and the price is $399.99 (they don’t even see the 99 dollars, never mind the 99 cents!). I just shake my head…

    As a proud owner of both books – sorry, can’t remember how much I paid 😉 – I can just relay to friends and family to not miss this wonderful deal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ejits are everywhere! I wouldn’t even waste energy by shaking your head 😉

      You purchased the paperbacks, so they were more expensive. I would reduce them down more, but the system doesn’t allow it because of the printers covering the cost of the paper! I am signed up for the Kindle Match scheme, though, and presently that allows paperback buyers to download a free Kindle copy of the book onto their devices/apps — or at least I think it does, unless it needs doing at the same time as purchasing the paperback. I’m not quite sure how it works.

      I’m very glad that you class yourself as a “proud” owner 🙂 🙂

      Like

      • Dale on said:

        I most definitely am!

        I only purchase kindle editions when I have no choice or when I feel no attachment to the author… though I probably should either way, looking at my overflowing shelves… I just love the feel of a book in my hands!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean about overflowing shelves, but I gave myself a good talking-to about a year ago and so the charity shop received a big donation of books. I just keep my favourites and, if I buy a new paperback, an old one has to go. I prefer reading paperbacks, but sometimes I experience a necessity to economise, so will buy the kindle version if it’s cheaper than the paperback, which, surprisingly, isn’t always the case with some of the big name authors. As I read kindle books on my tablet, this is useless in the summer, as I can’t see a word on the screen outside. That’s when paperbacks definitely triumph over ebooks! As a treat, I occasionally buy a hardback if I can’t wait for the paperback version to come out. I am reading one at the moment as a New Year indulgence as it was on sale for half price 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dale on said:

        I actually donated a box recently and will be doing it again. I usually buy paperbacks too and, like you, have a tablet which is not ideal. Am actually considering splurging on a Kindle as I am choosing electronic more often (to save both money and space!)
        And don’t let me in Indigo (big book store). They have sale books – talking about $5-6 price tags that entice me to read authors I’ve never heard of…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The difference in royalties is astounding and I guess shows just how well this 99p strategy works on people. Good for you and your rebellion Sarah, I’d expect nothing less!

    Liked by 1 person

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