My eBook Pricing Experiment: Intro to AWS for Newbies

Why did I decided to embark on an eBook Pricing Experiment with my first eBook?

When I wrote my “Intro to AWS for Newbies” eBook last fall, I initially priced it at $15. But I also knew, as a low-to-mid income earner in one of the most expensive cities in the world myself, that while many people are willing and able to pay $15 for an ebook that could jump start their Cloud Computing journey, others, especially those who could benefit A LOT from learning about AWS, may not be able to afford a $15 ebook.

If you’re interested in seeing how I sell my eBook for no fees (other than Paypal processing fees), check out the Bootstrapped Freelancer’s Guide to Getting PAID 💰 !

“Pay What You Can” Pricing

Pricing Options for the eBook Pricing Experiment purchase page for "Intro to AWS for Newbies" ebook.
Current Pricing Options: $8.50, $11.50, and $15.00.

So I decided to bring in a “Pay What You Can” model with 3 official tiers. I also floated around discount codes in various occasions to make the costs even lower, so there were technically quite a few price points (as the discount codes could be applied to any price point).

Many people told me I’m being stupid. Why would anyone go out of their way to pay full price when they could get it for half the price? I’m not going to make ANY money from this!

Well, I personally like social experiments, and I also wanted to stay true to my values of making technology accessible to all… ESPECIALLY those in marginalized and underrepresented groups, so I ignored them and instituted the pay model.

Off we go with my eBook pricing experiment!

7 Months, 123 Sales, $1,377.75 in Revenue Later…

  • Between January 1, 2019 and July 31, 2019, “Intro to AWS for Newbies” eBook sold 123 times.
  • It generated $1,377.75 in Gross Revenue, and $1,293.23 in Net Income after Paypal Fees.
  • I adjusted pricing slightly at the end of March, but kept $15 at $15.
  • The “Other” pricing was through the use of Discount Codes that I offered, often for 50% off the sale price (which the user could apply to any of the pricing tiers).
  • The least number of books I Sold was 11 in January for $112.00 Gross/$102.89 Net income.
  • The most number of books I sold was 23 in April for $260.50 Gross/$252.36 Net income.
  • Number of $8.50 and $11.50 eBooks sold are fairly consistent between the months, ranging from 1 to 6.
  • There is a much wider difference in number of $15.00 eBooks sold each month, ranging from 4 to 13. (And of course, this causes the discrepancy in the income because they’re the “big token” items.)

Let’s See the Breakdown of the eBook Pricing Experiment!

January 1, 2019 ~ July 31, 2019 eBook Sales:

$15.00$11.50$8.50OtherTotal
54193020123
GrossNet
$1,377.75$1,293.23

As you can see, despite what “common sense” would tell us, almost double the number of people chose to pay full price as opposed to the lowest price.

Some sales gurus wrote that if you give 3 options, most people would pick the middle, but in this case, that didn’t happen either.

What Do you Think about the eBook Pricing Experiment? 🤔

While this was the trend I was “hoping for” when I decided to try the Pay What You Want model, I’m still pleasantly surprised that it worked out in the end! It’s also interesting, because the customers/students can’t see what everyone else is paying for the book, and are making executive decisions based on what they feel they should do!

By the way, if you HAVE supported me and awsnewbies by purchasing a book, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! The eBook sales keep the hungry AWS servers fed so I can keep awsnewbies.com up and running, along with my Ko-Fi Tip Jar!! 😉

And if you’re interested in checking out what the fuss is about for this eBook (we are just about to cross into 170th eBook sold since its release last November!), check it out here: Intro to AWS for Newbies eBook.

What did you think would happen with the eBook pricing experiment? Did you think the numbers will come out like this?

Looking to Start Learning about Cloud Computing/AWS?

☁️ Check out awsnewbies.com for free resources, tutorials, and introduction to Cloud Computing/Amazon Web Services.

☁️ Check out Intro to AWS for Newbies ebook and free 7 day newsletter course to get a more guided introduction to Cloud Computing and AWS!

An asian woman wearing blue shirt, black pants, and black shoes running up stairs made of blue cubes into the Cloud. There is a server in the background.

And if you are looking for even more in-depth and guided introductions, check out my Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers video courses I create in partnership with LinkedIn Learning! (I just took a trip to SoCal for a week to record some courses. Check out the blog post here!)

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer and Technical Instructor. LinkedIn Learning and egghead Instructor. Arteriovenous Malformation, Brain Surgery, and Brain Injury survivor. Currently in remission for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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