Humble Bundle Launches Its First eBook Bundle; Books From Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi & More

from the keep-it-up dept

The Humble Bundle folks continue to do cool new things based on their basic (awesome) business model of bundling up a bunch of cool indie content in a simple, user-friendly, pay what you want system (with a charitable component). They've gone through six video game bundles (it's hard to keep up!), and over the summer they did their first music package, with a bunch of cool albums from the likes of Jonathan Coulton, OK Go, They Might Be Giants and MC Frontalot. And... today they announced their very first ebook offering. Same basic deal: bundle of books, pay what you want. The basic package includes:
  • Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow, an intense story of youthful techno-defiance
  • Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, a hard-hitting collection of 11 impactful stories
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, an alternate Earth mystical science fiction tale
  • Invasion: The Secret World Chronicle by Mercedes Lackey, Steve Libby, Dennis Lee, and Cody Martin, a modern military superhero saga packed with bonus content
  • Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link, a delightful fantasy collection of 11 stories
  • Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, the cross-genre follow-up to Stranger Things Happen
As always with Humble Bundle, if you pay more than the ongoing average price paid by others, you also get some bonus content. In this case, it's
  • Old Man's War by John Scalzi, a science fiction war epic
  • Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, an ethereal graphic novel of a man’s last days
That's apparently the first time the Gaiman/McKean book is available in ebook form... There's also the charitable component. In most bundles, you can designate some of the money to go to EFF or Child's Play Charity -- and that's still true, but this time they've also added the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
It will be interesting to see how this goes. The music bundle did well, by any reasonable standard, but definitely didn't pop the way the video game ones did. It will be worth watching to see how this one goes as well, and if there are other ways that the Humble Bundle crew will continue to innovate.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    MrWilson, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 4:23pm

    Meh... This business model can only work for the books of authors that people actually want to read and therefore it's entirely invalid.

    I try to let people pay me what they want for my thinly-veiled Star Wars/Twilight crossover fan fiction, but I haven't sold a single copy.

    Clearly we need to go back to the old system where an ill-advised publisher can push my crappy fiction onto people with a clever marketing campaign and take most of the proceeds while I get the joy of paying for my own book tour around the 2 local bookstores that I can convince to carry 2 copies each of my opus.

    Where's my buggy whip?

     

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      artp (profile), Oct 10th, 2012 @ 8:12am

      Re:

      Obviously you didn't write that fanfic, because we all know that there would be no arts if there weren't strong copyright laws that reward the big money ... oops creative artists.

      Now fess up, What did you do with the author? ;-)

      Or maybe you forgot to copyright it? Yeah, that's the ticket!

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

    But it's not going to work for an industry: for that, you still have nothing to even propose -- except take away copyright, and they ain't going for it.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

      Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

      So, "this will only work for the little guys"?

       

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        Ninja (profile), Oct 10th, 2012 @ 3:45am

        Re: Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

        And yet he keeps saying that the current copyright idiocy benefits the small artists but he then dismisses these same small, indie artists when a model that may work for them is presented.

        Just ignore him and move on, he is full of shit.

         

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 4:49pm

      Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

      What's your point? You still looking for a magic bullet that will work for everybody? Sorry, doesn't exist.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 5:00pm

      Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

      When did Mike say everyone should do this?!

       

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      Zos (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 5:03pm

      Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

      good. fuck those gatekeeper industries. we'll crack a beer when we dance on their grave. I doubt anyone here will shed a tear, i know i wont.

       

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      into_the_red, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 5:26pm

      Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

      I doubt anyone here is saying any of these cases will build an "industry".

      If anything, in the future everything media-related will probably decentralized as all hell.

      Instead of an "industry", I see media being more spread-out, not always following a set model for financing.

      I doubt anyone knows whether that will be the most glorious thing to happen to culture, or if it will just turn out to be a massive clusterfuck.

      Either way, you can't really deny that it will be interesting to watch.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Oct 10th, 2012 @ 1:33am

      Re: A few obscure bundlers / outlets always exist.

      Name one business model that works unchanged for an entire industry without fail. You can't, because it doesn't exist. No business model works for everybody, which is why your argument is ridiculous and a sign that you have no real objection.

      The Humble Bundle works - you can't argue with that. It works, and works every time it's been tried for software. Now, the same model is being applied to books and it's already raised over $300,000 in less than 12 hours (at the time of writing). It's going to be a success.

      Will it work for an entire industry? Of course not, but nobody other than trolling morons is even suggesting that particular strawman. There's a place for every model ranging from overpriced crap to bargain basement classics to physical books to whatever. The problem only comes when somebody dependent on one type of model decides they aren't making enough money and tries to enshrine their chosen model into law.

      "except take away copyright, and they ain't going for it"

      Please point to where - other than your own deranged imagination - anybody is suggesting this here. Copyright has its place, it just needs to be shifted back to the place where it actually works.

       

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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    Nice. Since Cory Doctorow and Neil Gaiman are in this list, I'll pick this up.
    Even though I don't like paying for e-books, I'll do it this one time, so as to promote alternative business models outside of the old copyright regime.

     

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      Mike C. (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 6:35pm

      Re:

      I'm not a fan of paying for e-books either, but felt this was worth rewarding the business for the effort to (a) put together a decent collection (b) make it easy to buy and (c) provide DRM free versions that I can load on my device of choice at the time I choose to read them.

      While I have no clue if I will like all of the books, I do know that there are at least 4 authors that I have enjoyed in the past. The best part is that you get to see AND decide how your money gets allocated. To be honest, this had the feel of a well run offering and I was happy about my purchase before I'd even received the files.

       

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        Tom (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 9:35pm

        Re: Re:

        This.
        I've heard of a few of these authors (and read links from this site), so I have good feeling that at least one or two will be worthwhile reading.
        But as business model, who can (honestly) criticise this? As the consumer you can decide the value and get what you want at the price you want or you can ignore it; the market will decide if it has a future.

         

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    Zos (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 5:02pm

    Good stuff, i saw this when i was hitting craphound to download pirate cinema... i already had most of these, but i went ahead and paid my ten bucks.

    Another thing that Doctorow did with the collaboration he put out with Charles Stross a month or so ago- was to set up a section on craphound where you could request a book for a school library, and people can buy and donate copies.
    I had to do one of those, i mean, how can you resist that?

     

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    Mike42 (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    Nice, which book is Dark Helmet's?

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 9th, 2012 @ 5:21pm

      Re:

      Sadly, they did not reach out to me for this one. Likely because folks like Neil Gaiman are pure awesome and I'm only in the kinda-cool category. Won't stop me from picking this up, though!

      On the other hand, if anyone feels like barraging these guys to include any of my books in the next bundle, I won't stop you....

       

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        Beech, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 6:22pm

        Re: Re:

        It's very common for them to add more stuff to a bundle a couple days after announcing it. You could try emailing them and letting them know you'd be interested in adding your book to the bundle.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 6:01pm

    "and if there are other ways that the Humble Bundle crew will continue to innovate"

    I am not sure that changing from music to books is innovation. Perhaps you need to learn the definition of innovation, because clearly you don't seem to get it. It's not innovative when they do the same thing again, is it?

     

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    Dodgy Bob, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 9:14pm

    Until "pay what you want" include $0, I'll continue to get my stuff from elsewhere. There's plenty of good games (and fiction) around that people make because they love making things.

     

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      MrWilson, Oct 9th, 2012 @ 11:18pm

      Re:

      At least with Doctorow, $0 is a possible price you can pay for the digital versions of his work. He releases copies for free in multiple formats.

      You can find Pirate Cinema for free here: http://craphound.com/pc/. Just click the Download for Free link at the top.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Oct 10th, 2012 @ 1:51am

      Re:

      Really? The Humble Bundle includes an option for $0.01. That's really too much for you, especially seeing as you can donate the whole amount to charity if you wish?

      "There's plenty of good games (and fiction) around that people make because they love making things."

      Yes, among them people who have their work on these bundles. We're talking indie products here, not corporate tat made by fame-seeking whores. Why not help this project be successful with a 1 cent charity donation?

       

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Oct 10th, 2012 @ 8:32am

      Re:

      Free option? There is already a free option. It is widely available and convenient to use. It is called "piracy".

      This is a Pay what you want deal.

       

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    PaulT (profile), Oct 10th, 2012 @ 1:56am

    I've bought it, as I often do with these bundles. I've not found a software bundle yet where there's not been at least 2 games I've enjoyed. I'd have liked it if they could have split the purchasers depending on the eBook reader they were using rather than OS (for interest purposes), but otherwise it's looking pretty good.

    Yet another reason not to buy the $10+ eBooks that mainstream publishers are trying to force on us because they're scared they can't fleece people any more...

     

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    Cyber Killer, Oct 10th, 2012 @ 2:46am

    Not the first ebook bundle

    This bundle is noce but let's not forget the 2 ebook bundles that were earlier than this: storybundle.com (currently on their 2nd bundle of books) and cyfrowakultura.pl (Polish language only) - both are currently still on for a few days.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2012 @ 4:00am

    HUMBLE BUNDLE :D

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    You know, I found out about this on my phone at work. Since I've purchased previous game bundles before I get emails for any new bundles. I didn't even hesitate to buy. Well, it did take some time since I forgot my wallet at home. But I just called my younger brother and told him to buy it with his card and "gift" it to me, then I'd just reimburse him the funds. Spent more than the average amount, which was going up and up and up from the moment the bundle launched.

    Gaiman and Doctorow alone were the main reason why I bought this. Both are books I've heard about recently and had been wanting to read, as soon as I saw they were included I said heck yeah.

    Looking forward to more like this.

     

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    identicon
    John, Nov 22nd, 2012 @ 11:29am

    How to make money online

    If you guys want to actually learn how to make $1,000 online, I suggest you check out my eBook. I have written over 10 best-selling eBooks and have received nothing except positive reviews. Quit wasting your time with this and check my eBook for FREE at http://downloadwho.com/file/0qa761.

     

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