There’s been a lot of talk lately about Humble Bundle ebook sales. Earlier this month, it was announced that sales had already passed the $1m mark, an achievement that shows bundles can attract customers if they’re properly put together and marketed. Now John Scalzi, one of the authors whose work was included in a Humble Bundle ebook promotion, has gone into detail about precisely how much he and other authors stand to make from this success.
Scalzi notes that his ‘default cut’ of the profits from the bundle in question ranged between 6.5% and 7.9%, which equates to roughly $78,000. He goes on to point out that due to various (totally legitimate) complications regarding the way that royalties work, he expects to receive no more than $20,000 (pre-tax). Admitting that this is less than he’d usually earn from book sales, he says that he’s still glad he took part because not only has he got the first volume of a series (Old Man’s War) in front of lots of new readers, but he’s also helped had more sales than would usually have been the case (even if each sale generates less for him).
In other words, this is a perfect example of why it’s important to consider the context of a sale. Sales via Humble Bundle have netted less for Scalzi, on a per-unit basis, than sales via the usual channels. Anyone looking to this type of sale for a ‘get rich quick’ scheme would be sorely disappointed. But over time, he should still come out on top. He says he’d happily participate in the Humble Bundle program again.