Real Value versus Perceived Value

As of today, I’m changing the distribution model for all my nine ebooks. That means that if you ever wanted to read some of my books, now you can do it for free. Free, as in “free beer”. Before moving forward go ahead and see what’s all about by clicking the link below.

Free eBooks

What does this changes? Well, it changes only the accessibility property of my ebooks, not the attached value. Now you have free access to the ebooks, but that doesn’t mean they’re worthless. On the contrary, I might say. You’re given the choice to pay as much as you like. That’s right. Pay as much as you like.

What happens to the printed versions? They’re still available for the price they had, because, for the printed channel, I can’t control anything. The only distribution channel I control right now is my own blog. So, the books on Amazon (or on the other proprietary channels like Kindle or iBookStore) the upfront price is still on.

Perceived Value versus Real Value

One of the reasons I’m doing this (apart my addiction to social experiments, of course) is because value is something very personal. It’s different for each and every one of us. In other words, there’s no such thing like “universal value”.

Paying upfront $9.99 for a book is simply inaccurate, in terms of value. Because, for some of you, that ebook my give you, let’s say, $30 worth of value, while for others, the same book may give only $2 of value. Paying upfront doesn’t have anything to do with the real value of something.

Until now, I set up the price of my products based on the market precedents. For instance, a certain type of book may sell for $6.99 and some of my books looked similar in terms of topics, number of pages and information. Hence, I decided to sell them at a similar price. Until now, this model proved manageable. And I’m sure it will be manageable for many years.

But there are at least 3 reasons why this new model may seem, at least, more intriguing. Let me me briefly describe them while I try to understand myself why this new way of content distribution may be beneficial.

1. No Expectations

If you see a $9.99 tag on a book, you create some expectations. Based on your personal history, you expect a certain type of value from that book, for that amount of money. Well, more often than not, these expectations aren’t really fulfilled. Usually, what you get is less than that. But you still came with some pre-conceptions. In this new distribution channel, where you get the book for free, without any price tag on it, you start consuming it with no expectations whatsoever.

2. Free Access

I believe in free access to things. The very fact that you can read this on your computer (or your smartphone) right now, is a consequence of free access to software (it’s a long story, but the Internet evolved dramatically only after Linux made its way in the world of server software, and Linux is one of the best examples of open source products). So, the more you have access, the better you judge.

3. More Than You Expect

In the fixed price world, there’s a subtle caveat that limits one’s revenue: you can’t get more than the price you set for your book (or product). Once they pay upfront the required price and the transaction is closed, that’s it. In this new model, I leave the door open to anything. If you think it’s worth $1.99, then pay $1.99, but if you think it’s worth $100, then you’re free to do it as well. You set the price, because you decide how valuable the book was for you.

What If?

When I decided to do this change, I asked a few friends what do they think about it. The only question was: “What if they get the books and then don’t pay anything?”.

Now would be the moment when I come in with some mumbo-jumbo about the energy and the balance of things in the universe at the subtle level, and how you will get in the end what you deserve. But I won’t.

First of all, because it’s not mumbo-jumbo. It’s for real and it was verified in my life hundreds of times: if you do something good, something good will come out of it. One way or another. And second, because even if this happens, it will only mean that the books didn’t have any value in their universe. Which is perfectly fine with me.

So, enjoy 🙂

Get Them for Free, Pay What You Like

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