Leanpub's Print-Ready PDF and InDesign Export features are now free

published Mar 05, 2013

Recently, we decided to give away both our Print-Ready PDF and InDesign Export features for free.

This decision was about us being more ambitious, not less ambitious.

Here’s the logic of the decision:

We want to be 100% aligned with our authors’ interests.

So, this means making Leanpub be the best way in the world to…

a) write a book

b) publish and sell an in-progress ebook

c) publish and sell a completed ebook (non-exclusively, since all completed ebooks should also be on Amazon and Apple)

d) market a book through features like bundles, affiliates, etc

e) get reliable feedback about the viability of an unpublished book idea

We want the above to be true for both self-published authors and for publishers.

I think we have made a lot of progress on (a) and (b). I think we’re getting there on (c), and that features like the Team Edition should help. I think we’re getting there on (d), and an affiliate program will help. I think (e) needs improvement, and I have a very specific and ambitious idea about how to fix that. More on that later.

If we can accomplish the above and ensure the world knows, Leanpub will be successful beyond my wildest dreams.

Now, the most straightforward way to ensure that Leanpub is the best way in the world to write, publish and sell a book is to focus our available Leanpub time on making Leanpub the best way in the world to write, publish and sell a book.

Not on stuff like “can we charge authors $49 for this feature?”

Features like Print-Ready PDF and InDesign Export are things we are building because we think they will be valuable to authors and publishers.

Since this is the case, we should just make them all part of what Leanpub is, just like everything else. This way, Leanpub is one thing, which provides lots of value. Not a mishmash of confusing pricing and optional features.

(As a Canadian: compare Apple’s approach selling phones to that of RIM, ahem, BlackBerry. If I have to write an email explaining pricing, I have already lost. This is especially true if it’s more than 3 sentences, and I am incapable of writing 3 sentence emails!)

If we are not charging enough for Leanpub, we can fix that for NEW AUTHORS ONLY in any number of straightforward ways (taking a larger percentage and/or flat fee on every sale, or by just charging a per-book fee either once or yearly). None of those approaches would be so confusing that they would require long emails to explain :)

Now, obviously we would grandfather all existing Leanpub authors forever, of course! And no, we don’t have any of the above ideas planned: I think that we have arrived at a very fair price for what Leanpub offers. We’re more expensive than DIY or Gumroad, but not if you value your time and what Leanpub does. As a result, Leanpub is growing nicely.

So, to make a long post longer:

We want every Leanpub author to be really happy about what Leanpub does for them. We don’t want Leanpub authors to think “is this Leanpub feature worth the amount of money they are asking for”.

So that’s why those features are free now :)



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