We’ve seen the music industry attempt the occasional “pay what you feel” initiative, where a song or an album is released to the public, and they get to choose how much to pay for the item - giving what they think it’s worth. These haven’t revolutionised the industry, but it does cause a stir and can be a good marketing technique to draw attention to yourselves. Now, the concept has moved across to ebooks, and I’ve seen it in two different places.
Firstly, I came across Story Bundle, which packages together seven books from indie authors and allows you to pay what you want for them. The bundles are available for a lengthy but limited time. As I write, the second bundle has just come to an end, so hopefully the third one will be up soon. Not only do you get to choose the amount you pay, you can also choose the distribution - how much goes to the authors, and how much to Story Bundle for their own admin costs.
There’s also a set amount that if you pay more than, you get some bonus books.
I really like this concept, but I haven’t yet indulged in either of the bundles. I quite like that they are indie authors getting their books out there, but so far it has been some hardcore sci-fi and some hardcore crime and neither of the bundles has really appealed to me. I could have just downloaded the books for free, of course, but I’d like to buy something I actually want, and give money for it as I feel appropriate.
The other bundle initiative I just discovered today, after seeing a tweet from Tom Merritt, and it is Humble Bundle. This one has slightly higher profile authors (I have at least heard of Cory Doctorow and Neil Gaiman) but still keeps the concept of you deciding how much you pay. This time you get to decide the split between author and site, but also for charity.
Here’s a slightly weird video describing the deal.
I don’t know if Humble Bundle are going to do more collections after this one, I assume that they are. I am more interested in buying this one, but still have seven days to decide.
Either way, I am going to keep an eye on these kind of sites because I love the concept. It’s not going to change the way the book buying process works, but it’s still a fun way to get some new literature in your life!