Sunday, 18 December 2011

Digital and pricing and subscriptions

Following on from various discussions and this article from Tyler James, I felt it would be good to outline my plans for digital pricing on future Monkey Pipe Studios books.

Single issues will be priced at 0.99c

The first issue of a series will be offered for free as soon as a second issue is available

Issue One's will be maintained as free, while all subsequent issues will remain at 0.99c

Trade's or collected editions will be priced at $2.99

That's pretty much it.

I've also been thinking about offering subscriptions for series. This is a little less thought out, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Physical books - 5 issue subscriptions @ $30 US, $40 Overseas

Digital books (setting up a mailing list which would send links to download a PDF of the book) - 6 issues @ $5

Indie books take a little longer to produce than mainstream books, but our aim is to keep books at 3-4 issues per year.

Let me know what you think.


Jahhdog said...

I think the digital pricing is inexpensive maybe a tad under priced?

Jamie Gambell said...

Jahhdog - thanks. I've looked at a lot of models and indie books tend to be priced free - 1.99 - with the bigger publishers going 1.99 - 3.99.

With third party apps and sellers offering the books, I think the return is something like 0.49c per sale at 0.99.

As a lesser known creator, with a smaller catalogue of published works, digital really is a kind of tester platform for me. I've had steady but small luck selling books digitally, but the main thrust is still the physical books. So, I guess, in a way I'm trying to make digital appealing with a lower price level.

I also agree with Paul Grist - who recently wrote that he likes the single issues, and that the push should be to make these items more appealing with added value, with the trades and digital editions more basic.

Tyler James said...

"In terms of direct market retailers, specifically – I understand where they’re coming from: If they’re selling comics for $2.99 or $3.99, then why should the exact same thing be sold in a different format for less? And honestly, why should it? What about the digital format makes it any less valuable than its counterpart?

I don’t think the real problem is with the price or the format, though. I think the bigger issue is how to reach more readers."

The above quote from from Eric Stephenson of Image. I tend to agree with him.

I outlined most of my thoughts in my recent column, but in general, I don't think indie creators in general want to compete on price.
Because let's face it, if the choice is between an unknown new indie book at $0.99 or a name brand big creator backlist book at $0.99, most new readers you're hoping to get to sample your product are likely to go with the bigger name.

The ONLY way to really succeed is to first produce something of value. I think you're well on your way of doing that Jamie.

I'd be a little bit wary that a race to the bottom pricing strategy might undercut the value of what you're producing.

But again, I'll be interested in picking this conversation up a year from now to see what we've learned.

Good luck!