I reached a bit of a milestone last night. 1000 people (actually, now it’s 1019 1020…) have downloaded my book, Music in the Digital Age. I’ve let people decide what they want to pay for it, and have moved the ‘recommended price’ around to see what works.

Having hit the thousand mark, I thought it might be interesting to post some numbers and see what’s happened. So here’s how it breaks down.

Of 1000 readers…

725 people (72.5% obviously) have chosen to pay nothing.
29 people have paid less than the recommended $1.99 price.
41 people have paid the recommended $1.99 price.
27 people have paid between $2.00 and $4.99
143 people have paid $5.00
12 people have paid between $5.01 and $9.99
17 people have paid $10.00
1 person paid $12.00

It’s worth noting that the recommended price was $5.00 for the first few weeks of the book’s release – though proportionately far more people have opted to pay that price since the recommended price went down to $1.99.

Here’s what I think is going on (though I’m open to alternate interpretations):

A quarter of the people are choosing to pay. And more people are choosing to pay than were doing so before the recommended price went down to $1.99. So I think that $1.99 – for this book, at any rate – is a price that seems cheap and (more than) reasonable, and so people are opting to pay for it rather than downloading it for free, even though they’re welcome to do so.

However, when they come to go through the Paypal process and entering the amount that they want to pay, they’re quite often putting in $5.00 or more instead. Perhaps actually typing in $1.99 feels a bit cheap for some people and their generosity kicks in.

Whatever the cause, 20% of all downloads are for more than the recommended price. And well over a quarter of the people downloading the book have paid money for it. Which, given that zero is an option, is pretty good I reckon.

By this time next year, we’ll all be hundredaires

For the record, Leanpub take 10% plus 50 cents on every paid sale. Fair enough. So my royalties break down as follows:

On a 99 cent sale, I get 39 cents.
On a $1.99 sale, it’s $1.29.
A $5.00 sale makes me $4.00.
A $10.00 sale makes me $8.50.

What’s more, some people are opting to come back and pay more later. I have a page that allows (encourages, even) people to pay money after they’ve downloaded the book – and there are rewards at different price points for doing so. Move the slider around to see the special tokens of my gratitude. You can play with that here.

I’d be interested to hear what you make of all this. In the three months this project has been running, I think this is pretty good going. In fact, I think 1,000 is kind of astonishing. And very humbling.

I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who’s downloaded the book, tweeted about it, shared it on Facebook, emailed me about it… or just stuck it on their Kindle, iPad or whatever for later. I’m also incredibly grateful to Scott and Peter from Leanpub who have made all this possible, and have been brilliant with advice, support and feedback along the way.

If you don’t have it yet – get your copy here. And pay whatever you want – from free to infinity. I recommend $1.99… but it’s entirely your call.


All prices given here are in American money. That’s how Leanpub works. Even though they’re Canadian.