Saturday, 8 June 2013

Gum Road and digital distribution

Last month I used Gum Road, a digital distribution system, to offer digital copies of various MPS titles.

Part of the deal was offering certain books with a "name your price" model - basically allowing the reader to pay what ever price they wanted, including free.

I offered the books in this way for one week each, before setting the price at $2 minimum (the service allows people to name their price from a $2 starting point at this setting).

For digital distribution, I had been using two other methods in the past. The first was to have a title available through a third party distributor - mainly Drivethru Comics and IndyPlanet Digital.

The second was to sell a link direct to readers. They would place an order using paypal, and I would email a link from which they could download a PDF of the book.

Using Gum Road is basically the same as the second method, however it means that I am not responsible for sending out the link, thus removing one step from the process. I share the link from which people can buy the book, and they purchase the download direct from Gum Road.

Gum Road also offers pretty good analytics.

Here are the numbers for the four titles I offered during May:

1. Department O (by myself, Andrew MacLean and Heather Breckel) - 129 views, 6 sales. Average price = $2.17

2. Black Wraith issue 1 (by G. Brett Williams, M. Lee Harris, Heather Breckel and Frank Cvetkovic) - 49 views, 8 sales. Average price = $1

3. The Hero Code issue 2 (by myself, David Brame, Heather Breckel and Jim Campbell) - 46 views, 3 sales. Average price = $1.70

4. Omnitarium complete edition (by myself, J. C. Grande and Bernie Lee) - 24 views, 2 sales. Average price = $1.50

I've also been offering a mini comic, The Id is a Lonely Monster, on the site, maintaining the name your price setting, as a digital edition for a mini-comic sharing project. The numbers for that are 30 views, 4 sales. Average price = $0.50

(I've added links for every title if anyone missed this and wants to check them out, or see what Gum Road is like - the first 3 have the price point set at $2 minimum, but the other two are still set to Free and up).

Payment comes from Gum Road quickly, via a bank transfer - once a week if your earnings are over $10, monthly if not.

It's a great model to use, especially for those wanting to have flexibility in pricing. I'm considering using a system of putting new releases up for a name your price week, and then setting the price at $2 minimum after that first week.

In a side note, single issue POD is proving a tough deal, financially. It's hard to find a good POD place which offers issues at below $3, before shipping costs. I'm toying with the idea of doing very simple ashcan editions for cons - printing at a print store, and then trimming down and self stapling. Collected editions are proving a much better deal for POD services.

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