Updated (12/23): Based on the positive response I received, I decided to move forward with an eBook through LeanPub. It's being published incrementally, with some experimental pricing. If you buy early, you get a lower price (but with free updates to come as the eBook is completed). Click here to buy or for more details. At the suggestion of a reader, I'll add to this blog post with updates as I go.
The original post that posed this as a question: Following the lead of other bloggers like Kevin Meyer, I'm thinking of publishing an e-Book of my 2011 blog posts.
I'm experimenting a bit with LeanPub, a self-publishing e-Book site that makes it very easy to create an e-Book from your blog. The team at LeanPub has been very helpful and responsive – a good example of a “Lean Startup”… so, of course, Eric Ries published a book of his Lean Startups blog there.
Believe me, I know not everybody wants to buy a book of blog posts. That's OK. But, it might be a convenience that appeals to some. As Eric Ries says, this is a situation where there's market risk (“should I create the e-Book?”), not technical risk (“can I create the e-Book?”).
If you're interested, you can signal this by visiting the preview page for my e-Book and saying so, suggesting a price that you would be willing to pay (with no obligation to buy). The e-Book would contain selected posts from 2011 – not every single one, but those that are more like standalone essays and commentaries. Thanks for your input! If there's strong interest, I will definitely do this.
12/22: Published the book with just the January content and a price of $0.99. Got two buyers in the first evening from just mentioning the book on Twitter and Facebook. No major promotional efforts. I gave away one copy (using a coupon code I created) to a reader who had expressed early interest – getting feedback from her, which is helpful. Leanpub doesn't give me visibility into WHO the buyers are – just how many.
12/23: Updated the book to add February content. Also updated the introduction as I better understand what the options are for the early buyers – that you can get PDF, Kindle (.mobi), and iPad/Nook/etc. (.epub). Raised the price to $1.99 and shared the link through social media (including LinkedIn this time). Started reading the eBook Lean Publishing by one of the LeanPub founders. Added March content and raised the price to $2.99. That's likely my last update for the next few days with Christmas. I think $2.99 is a better minimum price for this project, as the eBook is already the equivalent of a 140-page paperback book. If I ever get this printed as a paperback, I might have to break it into quarterly volumes so the physical books (if wanted by anyone other than myself) aren't too thick.
12/24: Finished Peter Armstrong's eBook and blogged about it. Added April book content and increased price to $3.99 (and sold a few more books today).
12/27: The book now contains content from January to June and is priced at $5.99.
12/29: I added content from July to September and raised the price to $8.99. I'm learning that sometimes the batches can be “too small” in this approach to publishing. The true “lean publishing” model (as described by Peter Armstrong) is that you publish the book as you go… this would mean fairly infrequent updates. Since I was publishing material that was already written (and I was just doing formatting and editing), the batches of “one chapter flow” came pretty quickly… and getting an update every few days is probably too frequent and too much work for readers to keep manually loading updates to their Kindle or other eBook reader.
1/1/12: The entire book is now published at $11.99 price. The book is also available via the Kindle Bookstore now. Since the max price they let you set is $9.99 for the best royalty rate, I'm going to adjust the LeanPub price to $9.99 I think.
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