It has been pointed out already, but to add some additional data to the discussion, “pay what you want” for a product is far more of a marketing than “sales” strategy and is not any kind of revenue model.
Case in point: with the upcoming Assembled Edition of Icons in the works, I shifted the existing electronic versions of the Icons rulebook and the Villainomicon sourcebook to PWYW at the beginning of April. Here’s what the April numbers looked like:
- Icons: 155 copies sold, gross sales $73.47 (roughly 47 cents per copy)
- Villainomicon: 167 copies sold, gross sales $62.49 (roughly 37 cents per copy)
Obviously, most of the “sales” of those two books are $0, with a few folks kicking in a few bucks. On the other hand, the number of downloads is nearly ten times what they were in the prior month, when they were on sale conventionally. You don’t make a product PWYW because you’re looking to make big money, you do it to get it into the hands of as many people as possible, with the option of maybe making a little money on the side, which is exactly what happened.
That’s why I made those products pay-what-you-want: to get them out there and raise awareness about Icons leading up to the release of the Assembled Edition. I’m also looking to sell the remaining print editions of both books leading up to the new release, and figure a free taste of the electronic editions may encourage some folks to pick up the print versions before they’re gone (I’ll announce when they’re available soon).
So, if you added Icons or The Villainomicon to your collection this past month, all I’d ask is that you check them out, tell other people about them, and consider some other fine Icons products: adventures, the Great Power sourcebook, the print editions of both PWYW books (when they go on sale again), and checking out (or even pre-ordering!) the Assembled Edition of Icons when it becomes available early this summer. Most of all, give Icons a try at your gaming table!