Would you let readers price your book?

Piracy is rampant. Music, eBooks, and films are all susceptible to being illegally downloaded for free, which deprives creators of compensation for their art. In the digital age, one way to combat piracy has been to use a “pay what you want” pricing model.

Ever since the band Radiohead released its highly anticipated 2007 album In Rainbows with a “pay what you want” scheme, it’s been viewed as a profitable way for large, highly successful bands to earn money in the era of internet piracy. But what about for smaller artists? And what about for books?

StoryBundle offers a “pay what you want” payment method for bundles of DRM-free eBooks, with each bundle comprised of a group of excellently reviewed eBooks from a specific genre. Readers decide how much of the money will go to the author, and how much will go StoryBundle.

This kind of innovative pricing leaves authors at a crossroads, choosing between making a surefire profit on their work (if priced at a consistent level and counting on good sales) or leaving it up to the goodwill of readers. If you’re beloved (like Radiohead) you stand a good chance of making a considerable amount of money. Still, this is a big risk to take.

The genius part of the StoryBundle project isn’t the pricing, though — it’s the bundling. By bundling your work with other authors, particularly if they are in the same genre, you stand a greater chance of reaching new readers, as well as a better chance of making money in a “pay what you want” model. When consumers buy a single book, they might be inclined to only cough up a dollar or so. But if they are buying five, well, that seems more like something that should cost $10. Of course, you’re still at the mercy of your readers.

Innovative pricing and bundling are just among the options writers get when they publish an eBook. By avoiding the overhead cost associated with print, they can experiment and become more entrepreneurial with selling their work. Not only that, but if a certain pricing model doesn’t work — then chuck it. If you find that a DRM model isn’t working for you, then maybe try being DRM-free for a while to see how sales go. Or even reach out to other, similar authors, and see if a bundle is something they’d be interested in.

The key thing is to keep trying new ways of selling your book. Remember, you have to be just as creative while marketing your book as you are when writing it.

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5 Comments

  1. Ebook pricing should stay with the author or publisher in my opinion as some people may want to get ebooks for free. As an indie author myself, I’d prefer people pay enough for my books that I get a decent royalties, that means I control the pricing on my books.

  2. Stacy

    No. I see too many people wanting books for free or for 0.99 for books tat are upwards or 60k words there is no way I would leave the price of my book with a reader because if I did I’d end up sleeping in my car because I can’t pay my rent.

  3. @Stacy: Me, if someone shows interest in my book, I want them to have it, to read it, to get excited enough to tell a friend about it. If you only get a quarter from each reader, that’s a quarter you didn’t have before. Meanwhile, every reader you lose because your price was too high is a reader you won’t ever see again. Independent authors don’t have a lot of leverage over readers. They’ve never heard of us. There is a strong limits to how much we can actually charge for our work, because we’re asking readers to take a gamble.

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  1. By Welcome, StoryBundle Visitors! | GregEnslen.com on September 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    [...] “The genius part of the StoryBundle project isn’t the pricing, though — it’s the bundling” – Lulu [...]

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