Musings on Keeping More of Your eBook Sales

I've been giving a lot of thought to the subject of self-publishing and self-selling ebooks. More specifically, I'm musing about how authors can actually keep more of what they charge for their work.

One of the issues with selling inexpensive ebooks (e.g. $1.29) is that you're left with very little once Amazon has its way since they take 70% on the lower priced items. If you sell them via your own Website using a shopping cart, a chunk of that sale goes to PayPal (35 cents). It's less than Amazon, but it takes a while to make that back. I should also point out that not all eBook stores take as much as Amazon so those percentages vary.

One option I keep thinking about is for authors to sell coupons which could then be exchanged for a number of ebooks up to the value of that coupon. Your $5.00 coupon, as an example, costs you 50 cents via PayPal, thereby leaving you with real money for your sale. Your readers get to choose 5 or your $1 ebooks and everyone is happy.

Coupons are nothing new. People routinely use them as a means of discounting a product or even giving that product away free; essentially a 100% discount. My suggestion is that the coupon becomes the product which you then exchange for eBooks. Sort of like putting money on your coffee card at Starbucks or Tim Hortons. Pay now, buy later.

The downside, of course, is that you are the salesperson and you need to run your own Website and shopping cart. I'm not sure how much of a downside that actually is since many authors, especially those who fancy making some kind of a living at writing, are already maintaining a site. This would become one additional task in that site maintenance.

And so, a few questions to you, my friends . . .

Would you consider this model for buying eBooks from an author? Obviously, you'd expect to be able to buy your $5 of eBooks, but let's assume that the author produces enough to sell that much.

If you're an author, what do you think of this idea? You could still, for those people who like the idea of an eBook just 'appearing' on their reader when they purchase a title, provide links to Amazon, Kobo, or B&N. 

Thoughts? Is this crazy? A brilliant idea? Please leave your comments here on Google Plus or here on Facebook. 

Let me wrap up by coming clean and saying that my company creates and provides Websites to authors and publishers. I also wrote, as my company, the conversion engine behind Kobo's WritingLife self-publishing portal. In short, this is interesting to me on many fronts; not just as an author. 

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