A novel approach for an ebook business? It appears Screwpulp has one. An innovative platform may benefit new authors and readers alike.
How are they different? “By giving away the initial copies of the book for free, in exchange for a mention on social media and a star rating, we quickly get your book into the hands of readers. This builds a fanbase for the author quickly and this exchange creates buzz around your work. As demand for the book goes up so does the price in one dollar increments.”
All books begin as free downloads then go to $1 after receiving 25 downloads. Will they go to $2 at 50 or 100 downloads? We’ll see soon as they are a fledgling company with a current best-seller topping the charts at 30 downloads. However, that will change quickly. My curiosity wanders to the price ceiling, which might come into play around the $3 or $5 or dare I say $7 to $9 mark. Will be fun to watch. But even for the $1 sales–at 75% royalties to the author, that’s good money compared to major retailers.
I asked Richard Billings, CEO of Screwpulp, how it all began?
I came up with a form of the idea about 3 years ago and inadvertently did customer discovery by speaking with readers and writers for a couple of years, which helped me to define Screwpulp to what it is today. We listened very carefully to both sides in order to create a marketplace that would be beneficial to all types of readers and writers. Our company was officially formed in February 2013 and launched in beta on May 1st 2013.
Who are the founders?
I am the original founder with Will Phillips Jr., our designer, coming on in July of 2012. I found through my discovery process that design was important to both readers and writers. We brought on Richard Batt for business operations, and Kris Spencer for development in Feb 2013. More recently Joe Wikert, a 20 year publishing insider who has spent the last several years focusing on change in the industry, joined the team as a board member and mentor.
What motivates you?
I’m an amateur writer and found several problems with self-publishing model. Also, like the rest of the team, I’m an avid reader. As a reader I found that most self-publishing sites weren’t very user friendly or visually appealing. They sold books by authors I didn’t know, with no ratings to base my decision on, for higher prices that I was willing to spend on so many unknowns. Our motivation is to make the self-publishing experience better for both the reader and the writer.
What sales growth are you seeing?
We launched on May 1st with 4 books, 4 authors, and of course 0 users. Today, nearly six weeks later, we have about 50 books, 45 authors (from 3 countries), and we’re approaching 800 users. This growth has been mostly organic as we done very little marketing.
Not bad to start. That will change dramatically soon. Where do you see book prices eventually rising to?
That’s hard to say. So far there hasn’t been a mechanism that allows the market to decide what prices should be. We think our crowd-driven pricing will give real indications about what readers are willing to spend on self-published titles.
How do authors upload and in what format?
Eventually authors will be able to submit through the website. We’re in early beta and will be adding features regularly. Currently the submission process is found at this link: https://www.screwpulp.com/?publish
Have to admit, this is a brilliant idea. Good for authors and readers. Here’s a YouTube video with a bit more: