Is Humble Bundle the new way to buy books?







Author Bob Lowe told me about Humble Bundle the other day.  If you haven’t heard of it, hold on to your hats because it may be the next model for book selling on the Internet.

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about a similar site called Story Bundle.  The concept of both sites is the same.  As a matter of fact, Humble Bundle may have received its inspiration from the success of Story Bundle’s initial offerings.


Here is how it works.  Humble Bundle handpicks a group of eBooks. It makes a deal with the authors who provide the book files in digital formats (epub and mobi files, I assume.)  The customer who visits the site must purchase the entire bundle. He can’t pick and choose.

Here’s the kicker.  The reader, i.e., buyer, sets the price for the bundle. The price can’t be zero.  These are not free books.  The buyer has three options presented to him.  He decides what amount of his total expenditure goes to the authors, to one of several listed charities, and to Humble Bundle as a “tip.”

Once the buyer makes his purchase, Humble Bundle distributes the purchased eBook files to him via a link provided. When he goes to the link, he finds various delivery options. In  my case, I chose to have the books sent directly to my Kindle.  To accomplish this I had to authorize Humble Bundle’s Kindle email address as an email accepted by my Kindle and provide the dedicated email address of my device. Within three minutes or so, the books popped up on my Kindle.

The money paid for all the bundle sales during the course of the bundle’s offering is divided among the bundled books’ authors according to a contractual agreement between the authors and the site.  I do not know the details of that distribution scheme.

A bundle stays up for sale for a specified time.  This is about two weeks, I think. If you go to the site, you will see a ticker counter that dials through the bundle sales as they occur.

That’s why I say it’s a big deal.

As I look at the site right now as I compose this post, I see that the current bundle will remain on sale for six more days.  How many bundles have sold thus far?

A mere 65,000.

What I don’t know is whether that number represents sales for just the current bundle or whether it is a cumulative record of all bundles sold thus far. Either way, since Humble Bundle is only a few weeks old, the number is impressive.

By clicking the support button, you can access an eBook submission form and fill it out to request that a book be considered for future bundles.  I did this yesterday, so I don’t know what happens from there. I’ll let you know if I get any feedback from the site.

Those authors who are familiar with Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select) realize that an option like Humble Bundle is not available to them.  This is because Amazon requires an exclusive selling arrangement for any books offered through the Select program.  So in order to put a book on Humble Bundle, a KDP author would have to allow his Select status to expire (which happens every ninety days unless the author renews it).

Sites like Humble Bundle are a really cool twist on eBook buying.

Who knows?  Maybe it’s the coming thing.  If it’s not THE thing, it’s still an interesting way to buy handpicked books from a source other than Amazon, B&N and the handful of other major eBook retailers.

Check it out.


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