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Ask Slashdot: Funding Models For a Free E-book? 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-is-not-free dept.
danspalding writes "I'm an adult education teacher in SF who wrote an e-book about how to teach adults. It will be available to download for free in January 2013. I Kickstarted enough money for editing, design and publicity, but not enough to pay me anything up front. I'm considering making a $1, $10 and $25 version available from Amazon as a way for folks to donate money to me, as well as a straight up PayPal link on my site. Is it possible to produce quality material for teachers to download for free in a way that's economically sustainable? Might readers accidentally pay for a copy without realizing there's a free download and get angry? And where should I host the free-to-download version?"
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Ask Slashdot: Funding Models For a Free E-book?

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  • by banbeans (122547) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:18AM (#41801673)

    Is it free or for profit? It can not be both.
    Either release it for free for the good of mankind and be happy or make it commercial and try and make money.
    If you try to make money off a free book you will be sadly disappointed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:23AM (#41801689)

      That's silly. Lots of things are done for free with the option to donate something to the author.

      I know the nasty "profit-is-evil" streak is about to rear its ugly head here... but before it does, I'd suggest there's nothing wrong with providing a mechanism for this. Just so long as he honors the original arrangement from the Kickstarter, first and foremost.

      • I don't think he meant that. Asking for donations is fine, it's just the author shouldn't have been expecting to make a lot of money with it.

        • by McFadden (809368)

          it's just the author shouldn't have been expecting to make a lot of money with it.

          Where did the author claim they were?

          • -.- On my thread a little down I said it would be good if the author clarified. I assumed they weren't okay with simple donations, hence the whole amazon thing... Then again, I could be wrong.

            • I imagine the Amazon thing was to get it up on Amazon, for exposure. Multiple prices since he doesn't have the ability to put a Paypal link up on Amazon.

              As to people getting annoyed because they accidentally bought a free book - screw 'em. These are teachers, supposedly - if they don't have the reading comprehension to understand what's going on, they shouldn't be teaching anyway.

              • by ynp7 (1786468)

                I imagine the Amazon thing was to get it up on Amazon, for exposure. Multiple prices since he doesn't have the ability to put a Paypal link up on Amazon.

                This can actually cause problems since Amazon don't like duplicate content in their store. They'll very likely remove duplicates if it comes to their attention, without much (if any) consideration to which duplicates they would be removing. It also splits up reviews and sales rank, which isn't going to do much for helping your exposure.

                There's also not much point in having a $25 eBook on Kindle. With only the 35% royalty option available at this price point you're looking at less than $2 more in royalties o

            • by jthill (303417)
              The author specifically worries that people will buy without knowing they could get it free. There's no reason to worry at all about the ones happy to pay regardless, so the specific worry only about people for whom spending money = sacrifice isn't just legitimate it's the only sensible concern.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            "but not enough to pay me"

            also the title is "funding models for a free ebook". I'm not sure if the author meant that he's an unemployed guy trying to make a buck or not, but thats how it sounds and the free being an angle - not the intention of donating his time for the cause.

      • by tehcyder (746570) on Monday October 29, 2012 @04:36AM (#41802267) Journal

        That's silly. Lots of things are done for free with the option to donate something to the author.

        I know the nasty "profit-is-evil" streak is about to rear its ugly head here... but before it does, I'd suggest there's nothing wrong with providing a mechanism for this. Just so long as he honors the original arrangement from the Kickstarter, first and foremost.

        If he sells it for profit, he should return all the money he has received from Kickstarter, if that was raised on the basis of being funding for a free e-book that just needed to cover some up front costs.

        Otherwise, it's just fraud, which does not surprise me in the least since Kickstarter is involved. Profit is not bad in itself, but you shouldn't be able to mix up charitable donations and business funding, they're two separate things.

        • by LihTox (754597)

          "I'm considering making a $1, $10 and $25 version available from Amazon as a way for folks to donate money to me"

          The author's asking for donations, not charging a mandatory fee. I've seen this model with concerts at churches etc, where they'll sponsor a free concert, but with a "suggested free-will offering".

        • Bullshit. If you make something available for free (and open and...) and still manage to support yourself we should be celebrating that and asking how we can replicate it. Because that means creators will be able to make a lot more Free and lot less Not Free and that is a good thing.

    • Precisely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:27AM (#41801701)

      Either is fine. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make money. We all need to eat, need to pay the mortgage, and all that shit. However you have to decide with various projects if they are to be free or not. Trying to mix it is never going to work out for you.

      So far, Kickstarter has done its job: You got the money to do the project. That's all it really is for. If you deliver the project to your backers, you've fulfilled your obligation and they'll be happy. After that? Well that's up to you.

      You can decide to make it free to the world. That's a nice thing to do for the world, but you'll get almost no money. Asking for donations generally doesn't result in much, people tend to donate their money to larger causes/organizations. Reactions from your backers will be mixed, some might be irked about having paid for something that is now free, others will like what you are doing. Either way doesn't matter, you met your obligation to them.

      You can also decide you'd like money from it. The backers got their copy due to their backing, now the rest of the world needs to pony up cash if they'd also like a copy. Many KS projects do this. The Kickstarter is to get the shit up and running, then any sales after that are profit.

      So figure out what you want more, and then go with it. It is all up to you. Just don't try to do both or it'll work poorly.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Not quite.
      If the price is right, I'd be willing to pay for a printed version of an otherwise free e-book.
      The question here is deciding which price is "right".

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "If the price is right, I'd be willing to pay for a printed version of an otherwise free e-book."

        I do that sometimes, export to PDF from Calibre and order a printout from Lulu.com.
        Depending on how often I need to use it, I order a flimsy or a more durable hardcover book.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      College professors and dimming switch companies hate folks like you, but every priest is sure to love you.

    • by ath1901 (1570281) on Monday October 29, 2012 @02:51AM (#41801945)

      Yes, it can be both. He's giving it away for free and asking for voluntary donations. I.e. it will be free and if people donate, he will make a profit.

      The last sentence also shows he is concerned about readers misunderstanding this model of free+donations and accidentally paying when they actually wanted it for free. It is a valid concern and it shows his heart is in the right place.

      I'm sorry I don't have any good advice but I hope someone else does. This type of initiative is what the world needs.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Monday October 29, 2012 @03:17AM (#41802033) Journal
      Actually, if the kickstarter had been made factoring in a salary, it could have been both free AND for profit.

      Otherwise, look into a roleplaying game that was known to be commercial but also released under creative commons : Eclipse Phase. They sell the hardcover book, they sell the PDF, but you can distribute it freely. It is not hard to find, yet they manage to make a living this way.

      CC-nc may be the thing you are looking for...
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Actually, if the kickstarter had been made factoring in a salary, it could have been both free AND for profit.

        That is why I don't understand Kickstarter. If you want to give some random guy a few hundred quid to support him as he sits at home writing a book, I suppose that's up to you, but if there is no possible profit involved you shouldn't be allowed to treat it as a business transaction. It's just a donation to an individual who sounds ethically highly dubious.

        If you want to start an educational charity, fine, but do it properly, including complying with the laws about being a registered charity.

        Perhaps

        • by slim (1652)

          That is why I don't understand Kickstarter. If you want to give some random guy a few hundred quid to support him as he sits at home writing a book, I suppose that's up to you, but if there is no possible profit involved you shouldn't be allowed to treat it as a business transaction. It's just a donation to an individual who sounds ethically highly dubious.

          I think you're missing what Kickstarter is. As a pledger, you definitely get something in return.

          Look at today's "project of the day", 36 Dollars Magazine [kickstarter.com]. Pledge $6 and you get a copy of the magazine. Pledge $36 and you get "Two copies of $36 Dollars Magazine, and a over-sized "study" format of the analysis of the production process including a reference guide, time and cost projections, and a summarized differential analysis of direct paper recycling via various means over traditional waste collection ser

    • Donations can help to continue the development of a free project, which is why a lot of free projects ask for them. There's nothing bad in that, and occasionally if I use a free piece of software a lot I will pay its developer some money, because this kind of thing does encourage a developer to continue.

      That's how I understand "economically sustainable". Dan Spalding wants to create more free books, but working on them at his own expense is not practical. Enough donations could help sustain this idea indefi

    • I currently make my Cherokee Language eBook evailable for free from my main website, and 2.99 for ebook for through any distribitors with no DRM option where possible. Haven't had people send me any nasty-grams. I get decent sales are on Amazon (for my very small, and lower income overall target audience).
      • That's exactly one of the models I'm thinking about. I'll take a close look at what you've been doing - especially if you say it's been successful without pissing anyone off.
    • To be clear, the e-book will always be available for a free download. I believe in making my work available to everyone who needs it, that's what my Kickstarter backers supported, and piracy always wins anyway. The question is, how can I generate revenue while a free version exists?
    • We create children's ebooks, and have looked into a bunch of options here. A few ideas:

      (1) $0.99 isn't a lot to pay; significantly more than free, but not a lot. Certainly, if you're wanting to make things available for educational purposes, then this might not be that good an idea.

      (2) Amazon's Kindle Select program allows you to do 5 free promo days every three months or so, meaning that you could suggest on your site that people could pay now or wait a couple of weeks and get it while it's free. Disadv

  • Putting items on amazon with a price as a way to "donate" doesn't sound like donating and doesn't give customers that impression. Can you buy "donations" on amazon? (I really don't know, I'm not being sarcastic)

    Why don't you just sell it? $10 isn't too bad imo (depending on what it actually is) and is almost a steal... And you can still ask for donations after that...

    But if you want it to be free, make it free with donations but that's the price you pay for really making it free. Trying to trick people into

    • I'm guessing the Kickstarter campaign would've involved "free" as a key buzzword. Probably can't outright demand money for it after that.
      • It would be better if the asker could actually respond here to clarify things. In that case, s/he's probably should follow through with his/er words because again that would ruin the author's rep.

        As another commenter said, the author needs to make up their mind. You can't really do both. Donations help, but you aren't in for a killing, tbh.

        • I noticed some back there's a mediocre rate of these Ask Slashdot Askers actually ever coming to post in their own threads. I feel insulted posting notes to questions when they are not read by the Asker.

    • by aurizon (122550)

      Will amazo cede you any right to determine the end price?
        and Amazon also wants a huge cut

      • Yes, Amazon completely lets you set the price: as far as I'm aware, the only limitation is $0.99 as a minimum (and maybe a ceiling as well?) As for cut, it's either you get 30%, or you get 70%-less-delivery (optional on books about $3 and up).

        I believe it may even be possible to coax Amazon's auto-price-matching into making a book free.

        So no, not a huge cut - even 30% royalties is more than you'd get through pretty much any traditional publishing/media distribution route.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The author wants to make donationware. He wants a tiered-level donation system ranging from 'freeloader' to 'platinum donor.' What is the most user-friendly way to make this happen? Stamped: human.male.american

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:47AM (#41801755) Journal

    If it's already written, then you're ready to go viral. We don't want to wait until January. That's not how the modern release cycle works anymore. Release it as a "Beta", with further editing to come later. What's this about funds for "Publicity"? You just nailed an Ask Slashdot, so here we are!

    And what's the license? I would like for once to see texts released in one of the Creative Commons licenses, and not the straight "Copyright ___". You say your text is about teaching adults, right? So why not go with the pure "By" (Attribution) license, where you freely allow mashups and chopping and all that fun stuff that used to be praised as "Active Learning". If you try to lock down your exact words it sends a chill related to the basic school methodology of "I am the teacher, so be quiet and listen."

    Meanwhile, precisely why are you asking where to host it? Isn't that what Web Hosts are for?

  • Not sure how big of a market you are talking about here, nor the material(s) involved - for example, is it a straight textbook or are there lessons, syllabi(?), etc

    Create a free version and a paid version. The paid version should obviously provide some substantial improvement and/or additional features from the free version. Perhaps those lessons and/or syllabi

    If this is an on-going process of improvement then at some point you could make your older versions free and charge for the newer version -- even hav

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My personal viewpoint would be that you should provide downloadable versions from your website in a number of open formats and allow people to donate as much or little as they wish with some suggested amount, i.e. $10.

    Would I be unhappy if I bought it and then found out there was a free version. No.
    Would I be unhappy if I bought a version that was DRM'd to the Kindle and then found out that there was a free version that wasn't. Yes.

    If you design your website so that they have to provided their email address

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what did the Kickstarter funders get for their cash? Free copies? Freer-than-free copies?

    Why not stick it on Lulu as a free download and make some money off the hardcopy versions?

    What do you even mean by 'economically sustainable'? If the marginal cost to produce a copy is zero and you've got the initial funding from Kickstarter then charging zero looks pretty economic and sustainable to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think the Kickstarter campaign is at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/teachrdan/how-to-teach-adults-a-free-beautiful-e-book [kickstarter.com]

      A quick skim of the pledge rewards gives

      1. Recognition in the ebook.
      2. A handwritten thank you note.
      3. A special copy of the ebook with a different cover.
      4. Teaching diagrams.
      5. A printed copy of the book.
      6. A 30-minute, one hour, or five hour interview with the author via Skype.

      To get back to the question asked, Amazon will pay participants in their lending library a fee whe

      • Thanks for actually checking my Kickstarter page, although it's on me for not realizing my post had made Ask Slashdot. I'm definitely going to use this book as a way to put myself out there as an education consultant. I don't know if I'll ever have enough high-traffic content to support an ad-based webs site, but that sounds intriguing, too. I've been deeply inspired by the open source movement - I've been running Linux since 2001 - bit adapting it to what I have to offer has been a challenge.
        • Another possible help is free webhosting - we use this [www000webhost.com]; saves us paying for hosting, and has pretty reasonable throughput before you'd have to start paying. As for making money off ebooks, it's an uphill climb; yes, there are the occasional "overnight millionaire" types, but most of us just make a little bit on the side (we have ~40 childrens' ebooks, and don't make enough to live off, but it's a helpful side income while we're students). I could make plenty of other suggestions (and did in a comment furth
    • Very low margin on paper copy. I sell a book via Lulu for $9.95, I get ~ $1.13 royalty per book. I sell same book via Amazon kdp for $2.99, a $7 savings, I get $1.97 royalty per book. I usually sell more copies via kindle than by paper. DRM is *optional* as an author setting for Kindle. (I have mine turned *OFF*).
      • Mod parent up - as someone involved in ebook publishing, I can vouch for the value of the two points he makes (print on demand makes hardly any profit, and authors on Amazon can - and should - go DRM-free).
  • I would be pissed if I paid for something I could get for free unless I knew about it before hand.

    I suppose you could offer a different jacket cover for the sale book and call it the "donation version". then offer a description detailing it was the same as the free version sans jacket.

    But you might need to check with amazon. They rejected a few books before that were freely available on the internet. Those books were different though. IIRC, they were already available information collected and repackaged in

    • They do see a difference.
    • I would be pissed if I paid for something I could get for free unless I knew about it before hand.

      So what? Are you seriously saying that you think you have a right to complain because someone is generous enough to give something away for free? You paid for it, so obviously you thought it was worth the money.

      • Honestly? I think I'd be pissed, too. If I go that route I'll try to make it extra clear in the product description - and besides, if anyone hears about my e-book, they first think they'll probably hear is that it's available for free.
      • by sumdumass (711423)

        Yeah, I would have a right to complain. I would have the right to feel any emotion it would trigger too. And you would have the right to not agree with me, to see my complaints as petty and whatever else that trips your boat. The problem here is not getting something for free or not, it's not knowing about it. It would leave you with the taste of being swindled if you found out after the fact.

        However, if I knew before hand, it wouldn't be a problem. I could knowingly make that decision to pay to get the bo

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A lot of technical books for courses are available for download but also sold in print. I think enough people want the hard copy that some money can be made. I don't know if you would sell enough books for this model to work but it is worth considering.

  • by DeBaas (470886) on Monday October 29, 2012 @02:55AM (#41801963) Homepage

    Note that if you want to get Amazon's 70% royalty instead of 35%, you can't offer it somewhere else for cheaper. I am not certain if that means you can't give it away as well, but I'd make sure.

    And 35% in my view is a bit low to offer it as a way of donating. Although of course the volume of sales may be larger and you probably reach customers you'd otherwise not reach.

    • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

      If Amazon discovers your ebook is available for cheaper (say, free...) they have the right under your contract with them to mark down your ebook to that price... and they will.

      So not sure how the author's proposed model works, once Amazon discovers the free version, the paid version is going to be listed as free as well.

      • I did not know that Amazon doubled their commission if the same book is available for less elsewhere. Do you think they'd still charge the 70% if I added a little bonus content to the paid Amazon version? I'm thinking a short chapter on how I design curriculum, etc.
        • by DrVxD (184537)

          Do you think they'd still charge the 70% if I added a little bonus content to the paid Amazon version?

          That's more of a question for 'Ask Amazon' than 'Ask Slashdot',,,

          (BTW, I really hope this works out for you!)

        • As another commenter posted, that's an Ask Amazon question - I suggest hitting up the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Forums [amazon.com]; we've had some good responses there
        • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

          From their pricing page in the KDP license, section E:

          35% Royalty: From time to time your book may be made available through other sales channels as part of a free promotion. It is important that Digital Books made available through the Program have promotions that are on par with free promotions of the same book in another sales channel. Therefore, if your Digital Book is available through another sales channel for free, we may also make it available for free. If we match a free promotion of your Digital B

        • by ynp7 (1786468)

          With the 35% option you will receive 35% of list price, even when Amazon price match, unless that price match is to $0.00. With the 70% royalty option you receive 70% of the sale price, rather than list price, when the book is sold to customers in their 70% regions. Otherwise you get 35% of sale price for those books.

          Whether or not the book is available elsewhere, and whether or not that price is higher or lower than at Amazon, does not factor into your royalty rate. The only impact it would have is if they

      • by smart_ass (322852)

        I can see marking it as cheaper ... but if Amazon marks down to $0.00 ... what's their cut? They are still hosting which has it's own costs (albeit small-ish)

        • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

          Their cut is that they give away your book to their customers, which makes their customers a little more likely to buy stuff from them in the future.

          It becomes a loss leader for them. Sure, it costs them a tiny bit of hosting/bandwidth, but that's a rounding error compared to their customer acquisition/retention costs when people find out they can get an ebook free (or cheap) that Amazon sells for $X higher.

  • Offer it up for a price you think works for you. Let teachers know that they can email you for a free copy if they can't afford the price. Honestly if you made it $5 and it is really useful, most teachers will likely spring for it.
    • This is actually a great idea. Sell the book (assuming your kickstarter project description doesn't rule that out) and then make it clear that it can be had for "free" if someone asks. Maybe you have them agree to sign up for a newsletter you do or something like that as well. This gives you a chance to reach them down the road when you have something else of value to share. Maybe they can pay for it then, and maybe they can't, but it's one more potential customer that you have immediate access to and who w
  • Check Pro-Git (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pastis (145655) on Monday October 29, 2012 @03:03AM (#41801991)
    Free ebook, paying print version. http://git-scm.com/book [git-scm.com]
    • and I recommend another one: nodebeginner book, free on their own website [nodebeginner.org] with a link to a paid bundle on Leanpub [leanpub.com].

      Leanpub [leanpub.com] seems to be the thing the OP wants - simple ways to take payment for ebooks in multiple formats, low royalty overhead, and can offer free versions too.

    • Free open ebook, paying in the Amazon/Apple closed ecosystem.

  • by All_One_Mind (945389) on Monday October 29, 2012 @03:29AM (#41802077) Homepage Journal
    I've made some spare money writing and marketing ebooks, but I moved onto greener pastures long ago. Some of the business strategies or ideas I have had monetizing ebooks:
    • 1. Embed affiliate links to other books within the ebook
    • 2. Offer additional content that supplements the ebook for a small donation
    • 3. Require an email address/newsletter subscription before sending the free ebook, and then try and monetize through the newsletters
    • 4. Offer physical copies of the book for a fee
    • 5. Break the ebook up into smaller parts for an email newsletter series, and monetize in the newsletter
    • 6. Pledge to write additional material as certain fundraising goals are met
    • 7 .Turn the ebook into a mutipage website and populate with Google Ads
    • 8. Sell resale rights, PLR, etc.
    • 9. Initially sell the ebook only, and then unlock it for free for all people after $xxxx has been raised
    • 10. Write additional non-free books/ebooks and then use your free ebooks to advertise the pay books

    Now I know many of these are not applicable to OP, but it's what worked for me before I moved onto writing GPL software instead of ebooks.

    • 9. Initially sell the ebook only, and then unlock it for free for all people after $xxxx has been raised

      I like this idea very much — although I wonder if this is akin to what the Kickstarter model was meant to achieve. The author can set the reward he wants to receive for writing the book — he knows, before he starts writing too much, how much he can expect as a payment. This is his incentive to write. If he has enough people willing to pay for the work to be created, it gets funded. If not, back to the drawing board, so it does not necessarily work for "socially beneficial" works (as opposed to

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        9. Initially sell the ebook only, and then unlock it for free for all people after $xxxx has been raised

        I like this idea very much — although I wonder if this is akin to what the Kickstarter model was meant to achieve.

        Yes, financially penalising your early supporters seems like a brilliant marketing move. Just imagine how keen they'll be to buy your next work.

        • Yes, financially penalising your early supporters seems like a brilliant marketing move

          I can see why someone might view it as a financial penalty for early adoption if they were somehow upset that they had had to pay and others had not. For some people, sure, I can understand that they might feel that way. For others, perhaps not so much:

          One person's "financial penalty for being an early adopter" is another's chance to help get a book/game/film/whatever created, which would otherwise not exist. If I want that thing to exist enough — if someone is proposing to write a book which parti

  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Monday October 29, 2012 @03:45AM (#41802127) Homepage

    My view is that, if the book is the only thing you have, then, no, you cannot give it away in a way which makes money, other than asking (hoping) for donations. You may be able to ask in such a way that it encourages donations — I've no idea, but perhaps there's some research / advice on this — but, at the end of the day, you are still only requesting. Where you need to look, in my opinion, is how you could use your book to make money. If the book was one part of a wider means of making money, then you may well be able to make money from the wider model whilst giving the book away for free — the book becomes a piece of marketing for your actual revenue-making products / services.

    Could you offer a printed version, at a price? Would some people pay for a hard copy version, rather than be reliant on something on their computer? If so, is there enough scope in the price of a printed version that, once set, produced, printed and shipped, there's still some money in it for you?

    Does someone wishing to implement your book need any consumables which you could sell? Printed templates for class activities and so on? Access to a downloadable library of customisable templates, if not physical templates to be shipped to them?

    Could you make money if the book was less free? Rather than releasing it "for free," you could release it under a partly-free licence (such as the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND), and charge for commercial re-use of the work (e.g. someone using excerpts in other textbooks and so on (where this would be more than non-infringing / fair use))?

    Is there any value in offering your time/services to readers? Much like the open source support model, the code/book is there for free, but, if you need a hand with something in particular, such as working out how to implement your technique in a particular environment, or designing something for a particular school, even devising a taught course to train teachers, you pay for support. A consultation via Skype may well be desirable to some people, even running an actual course in person?

  • Make a version using iBook Author. Put it on the Apple iBook Store. If you want people to get a free version or pay, that's very simple: Make a sample that covers the whole book, except a page that says this person has paid. Samples are free to download, and you get a button on the last page automatically that allows to pay for the full version.

    Now with my cynicial world view, making teachers pay for something that they can get for free is very, very, very difficult.
  • I think you shouldn't put a price on the book, but do mention the possibility of donation in the book (in the preface and possibly elsewhere). Write something like "if you enjoy this book or find it useful, please consider donating a small sum at my web page http://.../ [...] to help me create more free books."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm an author who posts their books for free. I can afford too: I have a regular 9-5 job and just do this in my spare time. I'm actually an academic and so I use it to build my reputation. I have a PayPal and a Flattr link on my book pages, and I've made ... about $150 so far on my latest book - not enough to live on!

    But the reason I did it that way was because of the freedom I gained. I had two books published the traditional way and the first was a horrible process driven by the publisher and the reviewer

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by danspalding (560127)
      The freedom was a huge incentive. If nothing else, I get to make my book beautiful, while other educational publishers are putting some of the fugliest covers on god's green earth on their author's books. (Think I exaggerate? Look at this [google.com]. Just look at it.) With this project no one made me change the focus, or put in language I didn't like, or otherwise force a change for no good reason. If nothing else I'll have more leverage going into a traditional publishing situation next time, because I won't be a fi
  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Monday October 29, 2012 @05:40AM (#41802477) Homepage

    In case seeing Dan's Kickstarter listing [kickstarter.com] might help inform the debate.

    • Quoting money commitments:

      The funds I raise will cover professional editing and design, because I believe people use resources most when they're as beautiful as they are practical. Funds will also go toward publicity so that teachers will know that this free e-book exists.

      Any funds raised beyond the initial goal will go toward putting the book online as a website and funding travel for presentations and additional research. I may also give myself a small stipend out of any additional funds.

  • If you give it away for free, you can charge for worshops based off of the material in the book. In fact, probably, you must give it away so that enough people get to preview the material. Think of the book as advertising for the workshops. If you don't advertise, then nobody will come. How do you advertise? You give away the book.

    Of course, if your book isn't any good, then nobody will want to meet you. But I'm assuming that you think sufficiently highly of the work that you produced, that you are willin

  • Just put out a cheap version, eg $5. Go for volume. Those that want a free version will go to a torrent site. A percentage of those that pirate it will end up buying it if they find it useful. Sell ad space in the last 2 pages. Offer a printed version with audio commentary on CD for $20.

    Phillip.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A percentage of those that pirate it will end up buying it if they find it useful.

      Sure, zero is a percentage ...

  • When I read your post I realized that I would like to pay something between your suggested $1 and $10. And each time you give that choice to one of your customers they will pay less than what they're willing to, not more. If you're able to offer a "pay what you want" option (but require to pay at least $0.01) you can rest assured that many of your customers will go higher than the "pre-set" options you might offer them. Not a complete solution but at least my 2 cents.
  • Start a new Kickstarter. This time it's for setting up a training seminar series.

    A book is good but workshops are better.

    The Kickstarter is for tickets to the seminar. Your goal is similar to the crowd sourced concert series featured here on /. previously. I believe it was a plan to get enough tickets paid to cover costs (including your time) for a small private show but hoping for enough participants for a larger more profitable show.

    Give the book away at the seminar. Give it away on a website - but market

  • From my experience as an ISV selling a low-price tool, it's very hard for teachers to get you paid unless it's out of their own pocket. This kills most school sales for us.

    School boards tend to require *all* purchases to go through a rigid, old-fashioned admin maze where the teacher submits a purchase order, the administration maybe approves it & mails a PO, vendor receives PO and possibly rejects it due to oftentimes onerous terms & conditions, vendor ships the product, invoices the school, does so

  • Just so you know, you only get to charge one price. You can't have 3 different price-points for the same book with Amazon's self-publishing. Just one. They also have a tendency not to accept your self-publishing if you wish to self-publish it elsewhere for a different price point.
    • by ynp7 (1786468)

      1. You can publish the same book at three different price points. This would just constitute three separate but identical submissions. Amazon don't like duplicate content in their catalog though, so they'll probably remove the duplicates and notify you in fairly vague terms to let you know. This may not happen right away, since their process for identifying such duplicate content isn't immediate, or apparently all that automatic, but on a long enough time line it will happen.

      2. Amazon certainly don't have a

  • One premium and one free; the free edition is electronic. With the premium edition, it is a paper printing, with a beautiful shiny cover not available with free version. Include extra material, a pretty cover, maybe more illustrations, or additional appendices in the premium edition.

    Have the sites offering the premium edition for sale contain a link pointing to the free edition.

    You might have a policy of when releasing a new edition, the previous one is made available for free.

    There are lots

  • There's a site called Teachers Pay Teachers (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ [teacherspayteachers.com]) . You can make a little money and still provide the lessons for cheap.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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