Ebook fans in need of new reads have a new friend in StoryBundle.
In 2010, the Humble Indie Bundle started offering a pre-selected fistful of music albums or video games at a price determined by the buyer. That scheme proved wildly successful and now regularly grosses $4 million. Now StoryBundle is offering the same kind of deal for books. Customers can pay as little as $1 for five books, or $7 for seven books. Like other such bundles, profits go to authors as well as charities.
“The indie bundles are a simple but ingenious idea,” said StoryBundle creator and former Gizmodo writer Jason Chen. “They’re low-risk for you, and whatever you pay, you feel like you’re getting a deal.”
Chen describes himself as a lover of ebooks but a hater of their print forebears: “I hate turning pages and holding a book in my hand," he says. "It’s awkward.” He created StoryBundle after he browsed the Internet looking for an ebook bundle but couldn’t find one.
Offering discounts for buying books in bulk seems like a no-brainer for an industry suffering from declining profits, but publishers have yet to offer such multi-book deals; in fact, they've been slow to offer content for e-readers in general.
“The publishing industry will get there eventually,” Chen said, but he believes it will take the print industry a while to catch on because “[publishers] overvalue their books.”
StoryBundle's first offer is the science fiction-heavy Big Bang Bundle, which will be available until August 29. Titles include Undersea by tech journalist Geoffrey Morrison and The Heretic by bestselling horror writer Joseph Nassise. Chen would recommend Bypass Gemini by Joseph Lallo, though he was reluctant to name a favorite.
StoryBundle has sold roughly 2,300 bundles so far, but Chen is hoping for 2,500 by the Big Bang Bundle's August 29 expiration date.