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Culture & Religion

E-Book “Pay What You Want” Bundle Shatters Expectations

First launched on October 9 and ending later today, this experiment in variable pricing for e-book bundles has made $1.1 million for authors, charities, and the creators of the idea.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

The Humble e-book Bundle, a collection of 13 science fiction and fantasy titles available for sale at a price chosen by the buyer, has sold more than $1.1 million worth of copies since it launched on October 9. The promotion, which ends later today, represented an experiment in pricing that the company Humble Bundle had previously applied to music and games. Normally the collection would cost $157, but as of today, more than 80,000 customers have paid an average of just over $14 for eight of the books, with those who pay more than the average receiving the entire collection. In addition, customers can choose where their payment goes: to the authors, a set of charities, and/or the company.

What’s the Big Idea?

For the writers, the experiment has been an incredible success. Lauren Beukes, author of the award-winning Zoo City, said, “[T]his is New York Times bestseller-level sales. And for a lesser-known author like me it’s meant that it’s eclipsed all my sales…to date in two weeks.” Humble Bundle executive Robert Martinez says the company is planning future e-book bundles. “By allowing a consumer to decide exactly where their money goes (and how much)…they are in the controlling position. This…is why we believe our model works.”

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