ChristianDeWolf.com Books · Software · Business
Quail title text

Overcharging for loyalty: a classic scale

I just got done enhancing my eBook store to better sell physical books alongside their digital counterparts, but I’ve got one more product I want to add to the store: the Lifetime Membership.

I tried the membership model before, years ago, with the Precious Metals Reserve. The concept was, for around $10, I would snail-mail you a hand-drawn comic, but there was a possibility you’d receive a real silver coin.

The Precious Metals Reserve

Now THIS was a solid idea, though maybe a bit underpriced.

I’m still kind of suprised it wasn’t successful. Anyway, now that I have more books published, I don’t have to go the expensive precious metals route. The concept of my new membership plan is as follows:

You give me $20, taxes in, and I give you access to all the eBooks I offer, in perpetuity. *

Detractors might say that it’s not Monthly Recurring Revenue, or that it cashes out a customer’s lifetime value immediately. While it’s true that it’s not a semi-reliable payment every month that I can funnel directly to my landlord, it doesn’t have to be the last thing the customer ever purchases. They can still buy a physical book, or eBook gift packs for their friends, if they’re so inclined.

Other detractors might do the math and say, even if you bought digital copies of both eBooks I have for sale, it’d still only cost five dollars, and that $20 is overcharging!

But this is a lifetime membership. Unless you think I (or you) is to die anytime soon – and if you do, please let me know! – you’re getting an excellent deal. Plus, you’ll be part of the inner circle, and the fact that I’ve put a price on that shouldn’t negate the fact that you can’t put a price on that.

The alternative is the Patreon model — a smaller donation every month in exchange for a trickle of output. But I don’t think I work like that. Do you want a trickle? If so, that’s all you need to say: “Yes, I only want a trickle.”

Yeah, didn’t think so.

Luckily, there’s no one here to stop me, so I’m going to go ahead and implement a Lifetime Membership, and see if it works out. It’s not like I have anything else to do tonight.

Development-wise, it’s another database table and some backend logic to grant products to lifetime members, plus a new page to advertise it and another cart upgrade. What can I say? I originally designed the cart to hold book-like products, not abstract concepts of loyalty.

Fuck it. It’s done:

A membership in the cart

$19.99? What a deal! *

So now I can push this on social media – however, my inability to effectively self-promote may be my biggest barrier to scaling this business. Luckily, it’s purely psychological, so next I’m going to destroy whatever it is about myself that’s holding me back. NEXT →

* Since publication, more has been added to the membership package, and this price has increased

Posted in: Scaling up


Quail small

Scaling in progress!

Come back soon to see how the next plan hatched.