Derek Sivers

Considerate book pricing


I love having my own store so I can make things the way I think they should be.

For example, I disagree with the usual pricing of books. If I buy a book in one format, it doesn’t seem fair to pay full price to get it in another format. That would be paying twice for the same content.

Let’s separate these two things:

  1. Contents: the words in a book
  2. Delivery: the ways to get the words into your brain: paper, audio, PDF, HTML, etc.

What we really want is to buy the contents, not delivery.

With so many different devices now, it seems fair that if you buy the contents of a book, it should include all formats of delivery. EPUB, MP3, Kindle, M4B, PDF, HTML, or whatever new formats may come in the future.

Today you want to read silently by the fire. Tomorrow you want to listen while you drive. In ten years, you want to read it again on your new device. This should all be included when you buy a book.

I love this idea. It’s almost perfect. It has just one problem: Paper costs money. So I can’t just include it for free.

But following this philosophy, it’s not right to charge full price for each paper book, because that would mean paying repeatedly for the contents!

So here’s the solution I came up with:

I like this. It means you never pay for the contents twice. It works out well for many different scenarios:

It’s worked out well. People are buying many hardcover copies as gifts. A few people have bought over 500 copies each to give to clients or members of their organization.

The only downside of creative pricing is it requires a little explanation. Like anything unusual.

Log in to to get my books. ☺

See my previous article on pricing philosophy for more thoughts on creative pricing.

Read “Make a dream come true” for more thoughts on making things the way they should be.