An Australian e-book platform has begun experimenting with “humble bundle” book packages, allowing customers to pay what they want for a collection of digital books.
Tomely (www.tomely.com), which sells DRM-free e-books from small publishers and self-published writers, offered its second bundle this week, collecting titles on a theme of “the zeitgeist”.
The website was set up by Connor Tomas O’Brian and Fred Xin Fan, and provides a platform for writers and publishers to sell directly to consumers internationally, with Tomely taking 20% of the cost of each sale. The pay-what-you-like project takes its cue from Humble Bundle, a US company which offers regular collections of computer games with no set price. Customers who spend more than the average amount can gain extra content, while a cut of all revenue goes to charity.
O’Brian said: “We envisioned Tomely as something similar to Bandcamp, but for writers. It lets writers and publishers put up titles for free, and get paid immediately. All we take is the 20%, so buyers know the majority of money is going straight to the content maker. It’s transparent, in a way that somewhere like Amazon sometimes isn’t.
“We liked what Humble Bundle was doing, and it has tried e-book bundles too, and we thought it was worth trying. People are happy to pay a fair price when it is clear what they are paying for. ” Ten per cent of money goes to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, while buyers can get an extra title by linking to their purchase on social media sites.
Tomely books are accessible on any device, including an option to send files to Kindle.
O’Brian said: “A lot of small publishers in Australia and the US are really getting behind it, with the UK at the moment our third biggest territory. We’re hoping to carry on with new themed bundles and encourage more publishers to get involved.”