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Infographic: What People Will Pay For Free eBooks

ebook-infographicToday I came across an infographic that I felt was a good choice for breaking the drought in infographics posted on this blog.

Techdirt has just posted a summary of their recent efforts to give away ebooks ebooks. Mike Masnick let buyers name the price for any of the 5 titles, and he failed pretty badly at giving them away. Even though over half of downloaders paid nothing, the mean ebook price was about $5. $2.41.

Update: I was looking at the wrong figure when I originally wrote this post.  The average of $4.95 only reflects the paying customers, not the freeloaders.

Joking aside, the reason i think this sales effort succeeded where other freebie efforts failed is the design of the sales page. The pricing options default on $5 (the most commonly paid price), and anyone who wanted to get the ebook for free had to make a conscious effort to do so by selecting the last option and typing in zero.

This differs from a lot of other free ebook experiments, in particular the ones many authors have attempted on their own websites, because it defaulted to a payment option, not the free option. Furthermore, the ebookstore drew its customers from Techdirt’s readership and fanbase, people who already liked the site and wanted to reward it.

I know of several authors who offered one or more free titles and put out a tip jar (donations through Paypal, for example). This does not work very well for much the same reason that my donation button down near the bottom of the page does not generate much income. Both default to unpaid instead of paid.

Free content can work; you just have to be careful how you offer it.




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Jon Jermey December 12, 2012 um 11:26 pm

I suspect that some customers are engaging in what my son, a Dungeons and Dragons fan, calls 'meta-game thinking': 'If I pay a lot for these books now, that will encourage the providers and others to go on and offer other books on the same terms. Then I can download those for free and clean up!'

What the providers need to do in response is to make sure they wait long enough for customers to forget their original resolution, and 're-set' back to the frame of mind they were in when the previous offer was made.

Will Entrekin December 13, 2012 um 9:35 am

Given that $5 was the most common price for paid downloads, I wish the category separations had been "$5 or below" and "$6 to $9." Or something similar. With $4.95 as the average price and $5 the most common, I’m curious how many of those "$5-$9" customers paid exactly $5.

Really, it’s meaningless without actual sales numbers. It’s like when Amazon says "Kindle Fire is the best selling Amazon product ever!" What does that even mean?

How pay-what-you-like ebooks sell [infographic] | Ebook Friendly December 21, 2012 um 10:09 am

[…] Via The Digital Reader. […]

How pay-what-you-like ebooks sell (infographic) February 13, 2017 um 2:26 am

[…] Via The Digital Reader. […]

Free Content Can Work – Maybe | The Digital Reader May 9, 2017 um 5:35 pm

[…] week I reported on a pricing experiment where Techdirt offered DRM-free ebooks and allowed customers to name their price. Most didn't pay […]

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