By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid
A new website has an innovative way of selling e-books and intends to become the largest e-bookstore on the Web.
At OnlyIndie.com, every new book starts at $0. The first 15 downloads are free and every download after that is a penny more, up to a maximum of $7.98, a number chosen by the site’s founders in response to what they see as too-high e-book prices at other retailers. If a book isn’t downloaded for 24 hours, its price begins to slowly drop per an algorithm designed to take 100 days to bring the price back to $0.
For instance, if a book had sold 100 copies in its first week, the 101st copy would cost the buyer $0.86. The site calls itself “the world’s first dynamically priced ebook store.”
As for royalties, authors get 50% of the sale price on books priced up to $1.99 and 75% for books from $2 to $7.98. Authors get royalty statements and checks every two weeks and can set their own upper limit on the price of a book as long as it’s below $7.98.
Users can join the site for free, but if they want to buy any books for more than $0, they have to purchase a minimum of $3 of credits using PayPal or a credit card. The site currently has about 750 users, a third of which have set up paying accounts.
While the privately funded OnlyIndie has only sold about 1,000 books in its two month existence and has only 30 books up for sale, the co-founder and CEO of the Miami-based start-up, Karol Gajda, isn’t worried.
“I’m more interested in going slowly and regularly improving,” he said, adding that the site has already broken even on its costs, which are only server time and royalties.
Gajda, 31, and his two co-founders reach out to authors personally to ask them to put their books up for sale on the site. Each book is vetted by hand. The company wants authors to feel as if they are being attended to personally and has no immediate plans to scale the business quickly.
“Right now we’re in a mode of getting feedback,” Gajda said. “If somebody wanted to submit 1,000 books, we could accept it, but it takes approximately five minutes per book, so it would take a while. We’re not interested in automating it just yet.”
One early victory for OnlyIndie was getting businessman Mark Cuban to agree to sell his e-book, How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It, on the site. It’s currently available for $0.46, which could present a problem for OnlyIndie.
Amazon, famous for lowering its prices in response to those on other sites, could get wind of the low price and match to compete. So far, it hasn’t happened. Cuban’s e-book is currently available on Amazon for $2.51.
Beating the world’s leading e-bookseller at its own game – not bad for only two months in operation.
“The hope is that it becomes the largest independent e-book store on the internet,” said Gajda.
The screenshots above were both taken on 6/21/12 at 7:00 PM ET.
Hat tip on this story to Matt Gartland at Winning Editsfor being the first place we saw OnlyIndie written about
Write to Jeremy Greenfield