Outcomes of a pay-what-you-want pricing model

Gumroad customers

This is just a quick post to point out something shown by the above screenshot: pay-what-you-want pricing works! I increased the price of my ebook as I wrote it, as dictated by my OpenBeta process. What I also did was reduce it from the maximum price down to ‘pay what you want’. The suggested price on the product page is ‘£0.99+’.

As you can see, recently, nine people have bought my ebook (the other product is an audiobook I’m working on):

  • Three of them (one third) paid nothing. Their email addresses suggest they’re students.
  • Three of them (one third) paid £0.99 (the suggested price) or £1.
  • One person paid something less than the suggested price (£0.59)
  • One person paid £1.99.
  • One person paid £20!

That last amount isn’t actually the most someone’s paid for my ebook in the last couple of years. I suspect that’s because university libraries buy my book and pay the average that regular publishers charge for these things.

Charging people different amounts for the same product is Pricing 101. This, however, is different: people are choosing their price. Enabling students and those less well-off to get the book for free, while others pay what they can afford seems like a win-win to me!