I Let People Pay What They Want for an eBook. Guess How Much They Chose to Pay?


When I wrote my “Intro to AWS for Newbies” eBook last fall, I initially priced it at $15. But I also knew, as a low-to-mid income earner in one of the most expensive cities in the world myself, that while many people are willing and able to pay $15 for an ebook that could jump start their Cloud Computing journey, others, especially those who could benefit A LOT from learning about AWS, may not be able to afford a $15 ebook.

If you’re interested in seeing how I sell my eBook for no fees (other than Paypal processing fees), check out the Bootstrapped Freelancer’s Guide to Getting PAID 💰 !

“Pay What You Can” Pricing

Current Pricing Options: $8.50, $11.50, and $15.00.

So I decided to bring in a “Pay What You Can” model with 3 official tiers. I also floated around discount codes in various occasions to make the costs even lower, so there were technically quite a few price points (as the discount codes could be applied to any price point).

Many people told me I’m being stupid. Why would anyone go out of their way to pay full price when they could get it for half the price? I’m not going to make ANY money from this!

Well, I personally like social experiments, and I also wanted to stay true to my values of making technology accessible to all… ESPECIALLY those in marginalized and underrepresented groups, so I ignored them and instituted the pay model.

7 Months, 123 Sales, $1,377.75 in Revenue Later…

  • Between January 1, 2019 and July 31, 2019, “Intro to AWS for Newbies” eBook sold 123 times.
  • It generated $1,377.75 in Gross Revenue, and $1,293.23 in Net Income after Paypal Fees.
  • I adjusted pricing slightly at the end of March, but kept $15 at $15.
  • The “Other” pricing was through the use of Discount Codes that I offered, often for 50% off the sale price (which the user could apply to any of the pricing tiers).
  • The least number of books I Sold was 11 in January for $112.00 Gross/$102.89 Net income.
  • The most number of books I sold was 23 in April for $260.50 Gross/$252.36 Net income.
  • Number of $8.50 and $11.50 eBooks sold are fairly consistent between the months, ranging from 1 to 6.
  • There is a much wider difference in number of $15.00 eBooks sold each month, ranging from 4 to 13. (And of course, this causes the discrepancy in the income because they’re the “big token” items.)

Let’s See the Breakdown!

January 1, 2019 ~ July 31, 2019 eBook Sales:


As you can see, despite what “common sense” would tell us, almost double the number of people chose to pay full price as opposed to the lowest price.

Some sales gurus wrote that if you give 3 options, most people would pick the middle, but in this case, that didn’t happen either.

What Do you Think? 🤔

While this was the trend I was “hoping for” when I decided to try the Pay What You Want model, I’m still pleasantly surprised that it worked out in the end! It’s also interesting, because the customers/students can’t see what everyone else is paying for the book, and are making executive decisions based on what they feel they should do!

By the way, if you HAVE supported me and awsnewbies by purchasing a book, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! The eBook sales keep the hungry AWS servers fed so I can keep awsnewbies.com up and running, along with my Ko-Fi Tip Jar!! 😉

And if you’re interested in checking out what the fuss is about for this eBook (we are just about to cross into 170th eBook sold since its release last November!), check it out here: Intro to AWS for Newbies eBook.

What did you think would happen? Did you think the numbers will come out like this?

Looking to Start Learning about Cloud Computing/AWS?

☁️ Check out awsnewbies.com for free resources, tutorials, and introduction to Cloud Computing/Amazon Web Services.

☁️ Check out Intro to AWS for Newbies ebook and free 7 day newsletter course to get a more guided introduction to Cloud Computing and AWS!

And if you are looking for even more in-depth and guided introductions, check out my Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers video courses I create in partnership with LinkedIn Learning! (I just took a trip to SoCal for a week to record some courses. Check out the blog post here!)

  1. Cloud Concepts
  2. Security
Hiro is Founder/CEO of 24 Villages and a Technical Instructor at LinkedIn Learning. She writes to introduce Cloud Computing and AWS to beginners at Intro to AWS and various client blogs.

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