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Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam   The Box: The History of Television

"Pay As You Like It" Pricing

As I described in this article on a pricing experiment I'm releasing ebooks under a "Pay As You Like It" payment model: You read the story then decide how much it was worth paying for.

I hear from a lot of readers that they dislike DRM and high prices for ebooks; and that they understand authors deserve to get paid, so they would gladly pay for ebooks they download if they were DRM-free and if there were an easy way to pay the author a fair price. So this is an experiment to see if that's true.

Think of it like tipping in a restaurant. If you loved your service you might tip 20-25%, right? Maybe 15-20% for average service and 10-15% for poor service. But you wouldn't stiff the server, would you? And you certainly wouldn't walk out without paying for the food. Authors need to pay the bills too. Our income from writing is how we do that. It's important for society that authors get rewarded for their work, or we'll all be poorer for having less quantity and quality of literature.

So I'm asking you to pay for reading a story, based on how much you feel it's worth — but at least something. My recommended payment structure is listed in each story, for example, it might recommend $2.99 (or more) if you loved it, $1.99 if you thought it was average, and $0.99 if you weren't feeling it. (The variable pricing survey mentioned below showed people willing to pay around $3 for a short story, but whatever you think is good with me!) Even small amounts are important to authors so please don't think the amounts are too small to be worth the effort.

This is much the same as I did when I founded Nyx, the world's first public Internet Service Provider, and it was successful there.

I've tried to make payment as easy as possible with links here at the end of each book; just click them and they will take you to your choice of payment, credit cards via Paypal or Amazon Payments, or a check by email or postal mail.

The idea and suggested pricing for this "pay how you liked it" concept came from the results of an ebook pricing survey (at if you'd like to take the survey, see the results, or comment on this idea — I welcome your feedback). Stephen King tried voluntary payments and reportedly 75% of people paid. If that holds true with this experiment I suspect you'll see a lot more of this, and less DRM. Of course if people don't pay then it will only prove to those who love DRM how necessary it actually is — so as someone who hates DRM myself, I'm hoping this experiment is a success.

Thanks, and happy reading!

— Andrew Burt