The e‑commerce platform Gumroad, which lets individuals sell anything they like through a simple link, has substantially tweaked its publishing platform to include new features.
The startup is determined to modernize e‑publishing by ditching many of the traditional approaches still in use today, much of which are based on strategies and economics first devised 20 years ago.
Bringing e‑publishing into the 21st century
That’s according to Gumroad’s Ryan Delk, who heads the firm’s growth and partnership initiatives. Delk believes that power has shifted massively away from aggregators and marketplaces to “individuals with their existing platforms.” And that’s exactly what Gumroad capitalizes on. In this particular case, it’s providing a simple, straightforward and cheap way for authors to reach their fan base with no middlemen involved. Of all the things that can be sold via Gumroad, Delk says, publishing has been one of its “biggest verticals.”
The revamped publishing platform includes improved analytics, letting authors see the conversion rates from different sources, so that they can get a handle on whether, say, fans from Twitter buy the book more often than those from Facebook. If so, it makes more sense for them to concentrate their promotion efforts on Twitter, even if overall it drives less traffic.
And there’s a new approach to piracy prevention in the platform. Forget DRM – authors can now just imprint the buyer’s name on each document, a move that will deter people from “sharing” too generously. Not only that, but if clumsy grammar or typos come to an author’s attention, he or she can simply upload corrections without altering any download links.
In addition, authors will now benefit from a more frequent payment schedule (they’ll get paid every 14 days).
And boy, are those payments worth it. Delk says that several Gumroad authors have made in excess of $100,000 by selling via the platform.
An example is Nathan Barry, whose Twitter followers number less than 3,000 and who attracted 100,000 visits to his website last month. Good, but not in the same league as One Direction or Usher. But by selling his “App Design Handbook” and “Designing Web Applications” e‑books via Gumroad, he managed to earn $108,761 in just four months. That’s more than five times what he made from assorted promotions with Dealotto, AppSumo, and others.