Vending Machine Sells Books For Whatever Price You Want

from the i'll-buy-that-for-a-dollar dept

While we've seen pay-what-you-want models work quite well for digital goods, it's still uncertain as to whether the model works for tangible goods where the marginal cost of each sold item does not approach zero. However, that doesn't mean people shouldn't try. A Brazilian company launched a line of vending machines that sell books without a set price, allowing customers to decide what they want to pay for the book. That said, it's not entirely pay what you want, since the machines require that customers put a minimum of a 2 BRL note (equivalent to about $1.17 USD) to get a book.

Initial reports claim that "sales at the promotional machines had already more than doubled within just over a month after the program’s launch, and most purchases are indeed paid with a BRL 2 note." While this sounds promising, there's no mention of how much more the books were priced before the new model was implemented, nor the profit margin beforehand. Furthermore, in looking at the vending machine, it's not apparent that customers are given any real reason why they should pay more than the minimum for the book. The books are just placed in a normal looking vending machine -- customers can't leaf through the book or even look at the back cover until after they've bought the book (and decided what to pay for it). This seems like a lost opportunity. Especially in a pay-what-you-want situation, it's still about giving customers a reason to pay more.
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Filed Under: books, pay what you want, vending machine


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  1. icon
    Overcast (profile), 24 Feb 2012 @ 7:42am

    The "traditional" business model that many think of is always about profit per item - profit margin.

    But now, with so much electronic, it should be about quantity, since so many things now can be duplicated freely.

    Even in the case of the physical books here - if they cost $0.50 to make - you can perhaps sell "X" amount at $22.95 or something - as it common in the US.

    But if you can sell them at $2.00 each and sell 100 times as many - why not? Perhaps in raw numbers, in the short term it might look like you would have made more at $22.95 - but once you foster or re-kindle the reading interest in many people, if the books are cheap - they may buy 20 times the amount they would have at $22.95 - in the long term, making even more.

    But most of these companies now a days are SO focused on the short term, that they totally ignore the long term.

    Companies today don't consider loyalty or return customers in their day to day business - the goal is to shaft the customer hard, so that even if they don't come back, you can meet your quarterly projections.

    This is why there are some companies I outright avoid totally - I don't care how 'new' or 'cool' their new product is - I know it will be junk.

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