Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pay What You Want for Knowledge Illuminates

Last night I added Knowledge Illuminates to the Pay What You Want list of of OSR items.  After the responses to yesterday's Friday's Question and reading what others, more proactive than myself, have said.  After a little consideration and kick ass pizza and an episode of Ghost Adventures (I really do like the show, they crack me up) I decided to go for it. 

I'm a fan of options.  For a buyer this is one of the biggest options you can have.  As I mentioned in the previous post, as a buyer I'm not all that fond of picking a price.  Never have been.  I know others have said get it for free then plop in the money.  It may take some effort, but I'll get there.  The interesting thing is that of all the OSR products on the list of PWYW, I already bought all, but two of them. 

Random Thoughts (some are obvious)
  • Of course this won't work for print versions.  No way could I do this for print versions.  I'd end up paying others to read my stuff.  Had to do that for college.  Didn't like it all that much the first time around.  But I think this is a no brainer.
  •  I think a suggested price would be helpful.  Although I haven't seen how I can do this.  When Knowledge Illuminates comes up in a listing of products its old price is there, but when you click on the product page it just has the PWYW box.  It would be great to have an area just to put a suggested price.
  • For GM Games I don't see doing this for new products.  I will probably wait a few months before offering it PWYW.  But, there are ideas that I would develop just for PWYW.
  • It makes bookkeeping a nightmare.  lol
  • RPGNow for some reason did not put the PWYW option in the price section.  I had to get on Google+ and but Tenkar where to find it.  You'll need to go into Update Product Files.  This is where you usually select that its a PDF file.  If you want PWYW you'll need to select it in the drop down menu.
  • I read someone mention they hope that free stuff doesn't go to PWYW.  I know I won't be doing that.  I'll continue to put out weird freebie stuff once in a while. 
 I thought about doing a perceived  value story here, but I won't.  It bored me when I wrote it.  Short version, Ivy and I ran a business for over five years and there is a lot to be said about perceived value of something.  Lowering the price does not necessarily make it sell better.  Not at all. 

Here's a little glimpse of what has gone on since I placed Knowledge Illuminates in the PWYW category.  It hasn't been 24 hours yet, but with the speedy Erik Tenkar he already reported the change.  I've translated all the money into US dollars.

I've sold a total of 17 copies since late last night.
12 got a free copy.
1 person paid .78 cents
1 person paid $1
1 person paid $1.90
1 person paid $2
1 person paid $10

This seems about average from what I've heard from others.  The other thing to consider is KI has been out for a while and most of the people who were going to get a copy has got it.  Nearly 33% of the customers threw some change into the tin cup.  One generous person laid down a tenner.

As a publisher it comes down to what you want out of your product.  Is this a viable option for you and your product?  I'm going to see how it goes.   I just checked and 3 people have KI in the shopping cart and 34 have it in their wishlist.  This has been a fairly steady pair of numbers.  With this option will it persuade them to choose KI?  I don't know, but its kinda cool to see how it will work.


  1. Interesting experiment. You ended up with around 92 cents a copy (mostly thanks to the tenner)... if that ends up being the average over the long-term, would you find it a satisfactory model for products in the same general category?

    1. I'd like to see what a new product would do under this model. I'll probably just keep KI in PWYW. I'm not planning on doing that with The Manor PDFs. I'll do a bundle after I get my butt in gear and finish the forth issue. I do want to write an adventure and use this model and see how new one does. What do you think about it Mr. Blue?

    2. I'll put on my business hat here and say it depends on the market segmentation. Most folks just like to consume and chomp on free stuff. Some segments aren't like that, though, especially as average age in the segment increases.

      I'll compare it to the old shareware stuff. You paid after you got to try it out and see if the price was fair.

      But how can we know what it's worth to pay if we haven't seen it yet? That requires knowing the author/publisher already and having an existing trust relationship. The PWYW model is probably best if the publisher either:

      1) has that existing base
      2) is willing to get a lot of $0 payments until they've gathered that base (q.v., your perceived value statement)


  2. I think it's great that you recieved that many orders in such a short time period! How was this product moving previously and as a result how much income was it producing monthly? In reality, you may be ahead already if it's an older product that wasn't moving. Even .78 cents for a product that is normally priced at $1.50, but isn't selling, is a gain. Also, it's early to tell whether some of those free copy buyers won't come back and pay later as has been suggested in comments by others. This is an interesting experiment.

  3. Great. Not only am I now tempted to purchase additional copies of Knowledge Illuminates, I have no control over how large my payments are! Help me! HELP ME, I SAY!

    (Honestly though, I hope this helps drive up some additional sales for you, Tim.)