Latest Humble Bundle offers digital music – so why not e-books?
July 26, 2012 | 6:48 pm
I’ve covered the Humble Indie Bundles here before—bundles of independent computer games sold at a pay-what-you-want price, in support of the developers and charities (usually Child’s Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation). I’ve discussed the potential relevance to e-books, but the Humble Bundle’s latest move has possibly even more relevance—they’ve made the jump from games to digital music.
The latest Humble Bundle is the Humble Music Bundle, which includes albums from MC Frontalot, They Might Be Giants, Christopher Tin, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Jonathan Coulton, and, for beating the average donation ($7.87 at the time of this writing), OK Go. They are made available in both mp3 and lossless FLAC formats.
Purchasers can also use sliders to control where their donation goes. If they want to split it evenly among the charities and the artists, they can do that. If they want They Might Be Giants to get everything, they can do that. At the moment, the top donations don’t seem to be up to the level seen in the gaming bundles, but give it time; it just kicked off today and it’s already earned just over $120,000.
The relevance to e-books is pretty obvious: if they could do a Humble Music Bundle, why couldn’t they do a Humble E-Book Bundle? What’s more, the emergence of the Department of Justice-imposed settlement could make it even easier for such bundles to include works from major publishers—part of the point of it was to get publishers trying new and different business models including bundle offers, not just stay locked into agency. If the publishers are smart, they’re keeping an eye on this humble little offering with an eye toward doing the same thing someday.
To note, I have covered a “StoryBundle” website that said it is planning to do exactly that. But now it’s six months later and that site shows no signs of actually launching—and besides, it doesn’t have the cachet of the successful Humble Bundle brand name behind it. But if Humble can do music, I don’t see why it couldn’t do e-books as well someday.