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Pricing lessons learned from a publishing startup

Rafiq Ahmed talks pricing strategies for Demibooks' Composer platform.

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This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.


July’s TOC theme is “pricing,” but we didn’t want to limit the focus to ebook pricing. It’s also important to consider the pricing models of the tools we use to create those ebooks. And what better way to cover that topic than by looking at it through the lens of a startup? In the following interview, Demibooks CEO and co-founder Rafiq Ahmed (@mendicantraf) talks about the challenges of playing in the ebook tools space and how a startup handles pricing.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Book production, no coding required — Demibooks’ Composer tool was built for anyone who wants to create a rich, interactive ebook but doesn’t want to become a propeller-head. Unlike most ebook creation tools, Composer runs right on the iPad. [Discussed at the 1:20 mark.] — And by the way, Composer Pro is releasing soon. If you’re curious to learn more about what features will be added to the Pro version be sure to watch this short video.
  • Pricing is an art … — … especially for a startup in a space that’s rapidly evolving. Flexibility is key here, though, especially as you learn more about your customers. [Discussed at 3:46.]
  • The irony of rich content pricing — $4.99 is an important consumer pricing threshold, despite the fact that many of Demibooks products offer a much richer experience than your typical $9.99 ebook. Part of this is driven by the fact that many Demibooks titles are aimed at children, of course. [Discussed at 6:16.]
  • The temptation of “free” — Offering the Composer tool for free would mean Demibooks would have to earn revenue exclusively from sales of the ebooks; that’s not a model Rafiq is interested in pursuing. [Discussed at 7:40.]
  • Analytics helps with the value proposition — As Demibooks enhances the Composer tool, analytics functionality will be offered so content creators can better understand reader preferences. [Discussed at 10:51.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

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