With a week to go before it closes out, the Humble Ebook Bundle has sold over 63,000 bundles and made some $847,000 for its authors and for charity by early Wednesday morning. The bundle, curated by bestselling author and PW contributing editor Cory Doctorow (whose new book, Pirate Cinema, is part of the bundle) is the first foray into e-books for the Humble Bundle, which has offered 16 promotions since 2010, including games and music bundles, making millions for the creators, and raising more than $7.2 million for charity.
The Humble Ebook Bundle launched on October 9, and the promotion runs until October 23. It allows readers to “Pay what they want” for eight new works, including Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema; Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi; Zoo City by Lauren Beukes; Invasion: The Secret World Chronicle by Mercedes Lackey; Steve Libby, Dennis Lee, and Cody Martin; Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link—and if a buyer pays more than the average price for the bundle—currently just over $12—they receive Old Man's War by John Scalzi; and Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. Customers can also choose to allocate part or all of their purchase to three non-profits: The Electronic Frontier Foundation; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; and Child’s Play Charity.
All of the e-books in the bundle are completely DRM-free, and available in PDF, ePub, and MOBI formats and readable on virtually any e-book reader, mobile device, or computer.
For Doctorow, curating the bundle was a natural fit—Doctorow has offered pay-what-you-want, “free” e-books beginning with his first novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom in 2003. “At the time, I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I suspected that free e-books would entice readers to buy printed books,” he wrote in an editorial for PW. "Now, 14 books later, I'm confident in my hypothesis that free e-books act as an advertisement for printed books. I volunteered to curate the Humble Ebook Bundle partly out of self-interest. I’ve watched the sums involved in the Humble Indie Bundles with amazement: these promotions are generating payouts to independent creators sufficient to buy a nice house in a major world city. Partly, though, it was to see how this mode of promotion might apply to e-books."
So far, organizers and authors are pleased with the experiment. “Just so you know,” tweeted author John Scalzi, if the Humble Ebook “purchases” were counted by the New York Times Times, “all of the authors would be on the bestseller list.” Jeff Rosen from Wolfire Games, one of the Humble Bundle founders, noted that a week in sales were still going strong—and that organizers are likely to take on another e-book bundle in the future. “The reception to this bundle has been fantastic,” Rosen told PW, “so we are very interested in keeping it going.”