The Community Pricing Program has made many bidders happy by allowing them to add top-notch public domain titles to their digital libraries for just a few bucks per book. The recent St. Paul and Justification is a perfect example of how low prices can go. Hundreds of people picked it up for a mere $3—far less than the cost of a gallon of gas in most places. (Regular unleaded is about $4.50/gallon here in Bellingham.)
But not everyone gets in on deals like these. Almost as many people bid too low and miss out. The bad news comes in an email something like this:
Your community pricing bid of $4.00 for Calvin and the Reformation: Four Studies [DOWNLOAD] was not successful.
The final community price for this product is $6.00.
You can still place a Pre-Pub order for this product by visiting http://www.logos.com/products/prepub/details/4205
Thank you for your interest in this product!
A customer wrote in to one of our CS reps disappointed that his bid of $4.00 for Calvin and the Reformation was not successful, wondering if it was too late for him to raise his bid to $6 rather than buying it at the Pre-Pub price of $14.95 (which, by the way, is still a good price compared to the cost of the print volume). Unfortunately, once a book leaves Community Pricing, it is no longer possible to pre-order it at that price.
If this has ever happened to you (or if you want to make sure that it doesn’t), then this post is for you. With this simple bidding strategy, you’ll never miss out on a Community Pricing title again.
What a lot of people do is bid the lowest possible price, but that’s generally a bad idea for a few reasons:
- No book has ever crossed the 100% mark at the lowest price.
- Bids that are too low don’t help move the title any closer to production.
- Worst of all, they put you in the prime place to miss out on the deal altogether.
Here’s the strategy that I recommend. Never bid the lowest price. Don’t even bid the highest price that you think you’d be willing to pay. Like the individual who missed out on Calvin and the Reformation, you’re probably usually willing to go up a little higher—a much better option than having to pay the higher Pre-Pub price. Here’s my recommendation: if you’re interested in a title, always bid somewhere above the midpoint.
Your first response may be that you’re not willing to pay that much money for the book. That’s okay. You won’t have to. Keep three things in mind:
- Every book has crossed the 100% at the midpoint or lower and usually goes even lower, and no matter how high above the crossover point you bid, you always get the lowest price that covers production costs (e.g., if you bid $20, and it crosses over at $5, you get it for $5, not $20).
- By bidding above rather than below the crossover point, you’ll drive the price even lower.
- You can always remove your bid or cancel your pre-order if you’re convinced that it’s not worth the final price.
The moral of the story is that if you bid high you’ll never miss out on a deal, but if you bid too low you won’t be able to change your bid after the title moves from Community Pricing over to Pre-Pub.