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Old 07-02-2011, 08:42 AM   #1
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Ebook Bundles Anyone?

A little informal market research among the lads and lassies here. That OK, mods?

I was wondering if any of you had come across e-book 'bundling'. Batches of related contemporary ebooks, grouped at deep discount. And if you think bundling ebooks (in the same way as brick-and-mortar stores bundle paperbacks and hardbacks) is an acceptable practice that might gain popularity in the ever-changing ebook field.

My own wee house carries several running series and some stand-alone titles by the same prolific author. We also carry titles in several specific genres.

What we had in mind was 'bundling' the earlier of these books in groups of three or more at a deep discount around 40% of our across-the-board $5.95 cover price for individual titles. A cheap introduction, if you like, to a series, an author or a genre.

A wee problem, of course, is that ebook buyers, quite understandably, fix their own price ceilings and that there is currently no way at the major ebook stores to show that a cover price of, say, over ten bucks actually includes three, four or even five books (grouped under a single new ISBN). We've written to the stores and will experiment with other ways around this hitch.

What I wanted to find out from my pals here, though, was whether or not they think ebook-bundling would be well received. But I won't make this some kind of poll. I'd much prefer your views to a yes or no vote.

Many thanks for any thoughts for or against.

Happy weekend and very best wishes. Neil

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Old 07-02-2011, 08:44 AM   #2
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Sure. Baen does lots of bundles and they work well. I buy them all .
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:48 AM   #3
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Thanks, Harry. Baen is always the innovator and it was their bundling policy that gave us the germ of the idea. So thanks to Baen, too. Slainte. Neil
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:52 AM   #4
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I love to buy bundles and save money!!
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa. Bestests. Neil
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:21 AM   #6
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I definitely think it's a great idea. Not only is it more economical, it is more convenient to buy and pay for one bundle than to purchase multiple separate selections. I've purchased a few bundles from Baen and elsewhere, and always appreciate the savings and the convenience of a bundled purchase.

I've even purchased a fair number of collections of public domain titles even though the individual titles are readily available at no charge, as it's worth a few bucks to have an omnibus collection of an author's titles rather than dozens of separate books.

I look forward to your implementation of this very good idea.

Thanks.
SteveK

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Old 07-02-2011, 09:43 AM   #7
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I too enjoy & purchase bundles ... as well as download the bundled works here at MR. It's so convenient to have a series of titles in order to read, or to have previous titles available to refer back to whilst reading a later title. It also helps reduce the "clutter" on my Kindle's home screen - making it easier to organize & locate a particular work. Also, many folk (including me) read books in series ... and it is darned convenient having the titles arranged in the proper order to read.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:24 AM   #8
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Neil, surf over to the Kobo bookstore ... they offer a section for "bundles" under Recommended Reading on the home page. These approximate your idea.

Note that the bundles are pitches as if you were getting (for example) four discrete books but I am (guessing) it's just one file. Nonetheless, the graphic shows each book in a "boxed set".

But I wonder ... because I think you may be getting something akin to an "omnibus" edition: the first three books in a series "bound" as one. Price expectations for an omnibus will be considerably lower than "three books in a box".

If each of three books in a bundle is $10, then it's a $30 value ... if you offer that to me for $21 -- 30% off -- wow! that's great value; the third book is effectively free.

But if each of the three books in an omnibus were originally $10 but are now conveniently put under one set of "covers", it's more like a backlist reprint ... and now it doesn't feel like a "$30 value". If the original books were $10 each, an omnibus at $15 seems more reasonable.

My two cents. I may have lived in Canada for eight generations, but there's still some Scot in me somewhere. *winks*
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
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My two cents. I may have lived in Canada for eight generations, but there's still some Scot in me somewhere. *winks*
Short arms and deep pockets, eh?
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:27 AM   #10
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Aye! That's the ticket, laddie!
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:37 AM   #11
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I understand. I'm a Yorkshireman .
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:54 AM   #12
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What we had in mind was 'bundling' the earlier of these books in groups of three or more at a deep discount around 40% of our across-the-board $5.95 cover price for individual titles. A cheap introduction, if you like, to a series, an author or a genre.

A wee problem, of course, is that ebook buyers, quite understandably, fix their own price ceilings and that there is currently no way at the major ebook stores to show that a cover price of, say, over ten bucks actually includes three, four or even five books (grouped under a single new ISBN). We've written to the stores and will experiment with other ways around this hitch.
I find that I react differently to omnibus versions and bundles.

I think that a 40% discount on a bundle of three or more books seems really rather good.

For an omnibus, it seems only just enough. Irrational, but that's the way it goes.

But I do encourage offering bundles. It is an excellent way to get people into a series. Perhaps also offer the very first in a series for free (although also include it in the first bundle)?

I note that Phoenix Pick have just started offering bundles at 40% off individual prices, although their individual prices aren't as reasonable as yours.

Note that for long-term Baen webscription buyers, the discount isn't 40%, but 25%. (There are usually only four new-to-webscriptions titles each month. The others have featured in earlier webscriptions.)
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:56 AM   #13
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I like the idea of bundles and I've purchased a few myself. It is a great introduction to an author or series. And who doesn't love to save money?
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:01 AM   #14
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If you mean putting the works of the same author into one ebook file (an omnibus), the only time I'd do that is if it is part of the same series.

If you mean simply giving a discount on an author's works if you get them all (or at least the ones for the "bundle"), then that sounds cool. I've seen this done by basically having it to where you buy the bundle item in the store, and everything associated with the bundle shows up as bought for that customer to download.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:30 PM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback so far chaps and chappettes. Most useful. A small technical problem we've already hit with one particular series, SP, is that it's an illustrated YA. Because the bundles will come as a single download and carry one new ISBN to cover the batch we must somehow keep the files of manageable. We'll get around that.

What we have in mind, Hellmark, is leaving all titles on sale individually at RRP but bundling earlier books in a series, by a single author or in a particular genre. A new release would remain out-of-bundle until its sequel is ready to roll but the release before it would be added to the existing bundle. When a bundle exceeds five, we will split it into two heavily discounted bundles containing three titles each.

Also, SP, thanks for the Kobo tip. My tech partner Tony tends to deal with the stores and I didn't realise there was a bundle option already there. That's good to know. It's not as though we aim to break new ground here, just a question of whether the ground is breakable. Response so far suggest it is.

I've asked my partner (member TonySzmuk here), others on the editorial team and some of our authors to monitor this thread to help in their own decisions on whether to go with our scheme. Sometimes a pain (usually quite the contrary), but our wee house is a true democracy. We like it that way. Nothing goes without enthusiastic approval from all involved.

Our common aim, of course, is to keep the customer satisfied ... even if we are sometimes one step away from the county line in terms of finance and sometimes policy. So thanks, too, to PDurrant for encouraging observations on similar existing schemes that seem not quite as generous to the reader as our own.

Steve and PooBear's thoughts about convenience of cataloguing bundles and pricing are also useful. Your input, too, Doc. In fact everything here so far is helpful and of great encouragement. I have a feeling we'll kick this off before the end of the month.

Thanks again, chums. Neil

PS: Hellmark, I hear clearly the idea of offering a bundle but that the bundle would actually contain separate downloads. Must talk this out, but my immediate feeling is that it would defeat the object to some degree. Slashed cover price apart, a single bundle of titles would allow for easy cataloguing in your libraries and devices and it also allow us to cut story catch-up prologues title-by-title as a series develops and to drop the closing pages we used to carry in each title which were actually the first chapter of the pending sequel as a taster. Less bulk in the collection but flowing continuity. New bundle cover art but original cover on each book within the bundle. We'd also be able to title the bundles themselves rather than the individual novels within them. For example 'The Beldina Lawrence Mysteries -- books one to four', 'The Petronicus Legacy -- books one to three', etc, etc. N

Last edited by neilmarr; 07-02-2011 at 02:41 PM. Reason: to add PS to hellmark
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