In the digital age, one way to combat piracy has been to use a “pay what you want” pricing model. The innovative company StoryBundle is experimenting with this model on their website, offering content at a price you set.
Ever since the band Radiohead released its highly anticipated 2007 album In Rainbows with a “pay what you want” scheme the idea has taken off. Highly successful bands are using this model earn money. But what about for smaller artists? And what about for books?
StoryBundle offers a “pay what you want” payment method for bundles of ebooks, with each bundle comprising 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. Creators are left to choose between making a surefire profit on their work 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, and a better chance of making money in a “pay what you want” model. When consumers buy a single book, it might incline them to only cough up a dollar or so. But if they are buying five, well, that seems more like something that should cost $10. 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, be just as creative while marketing your book as you are when writing it.