A Bidding Strategy for Community Pricing

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 https://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:

  1. No book has ever crossed the 100% mark at the lowest price.
  2. Bids that are too low don’t help move the title any closer to production.
  3. 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:

  1. 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).
  2. By bidding above rather than below the crossover point, you’ll drive the price even lower.
  3. 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.


  1. well at any point before it goes to pre-pub you can always change your bid! just press the new bid price and it is done.
    An Email is usually sent informing bidders the day bidding will close usually on fridays so you can always change your bidding price.
    If one watches the graph provided for bidders by Logos one can usually tell what the final bid price will be. you have a mouse just change you bid before the closing day of the bid

  2. True, but then you run the risk of failing to change your bid in time. What if you’re out of town, your ISP is down, you forget, etc., etc.? Better safe than sorry. :)

  3. Keith Larson says

    I recall for a past post in the newsgroup that someone for Logos (I think it was Bob) mentioned that when a Community Pricing book moves to the Pre-pub page a significant number of people pay the full pre-pub price. It is beyond me why anyone would want to do this, but why don’t we use this fact to get books into publication faster. Here is my idea, post books from the very beginning on both the pre-pub page and the community pricing pages. For those who want to pay full price let them (they seem perfectly willing to pay full price after the community pricing price has been set, why not give them the opportunity to do so before!). This we help books cross the line quicker and all those full price pre-pub orders will drive the price down even lower. To be fair those people you can even place links on the pre-pub page to the community pricing page, but if they persist on paying the pre-pub price let them.
    A merciful spin to this would be to treat their order as a bid and to surprise them with an email telling them that they are getting the book at the lower community pricing price. Of course, this would be only for those pre-pub orders placed before the community pricing price is set.
    Keith Larson

  4. Bill Brannan says

    Community pricing is absolutely the best way to grow your library. I think emails should regularly be sent to every owner of logos software encouraging them to participate. It should highlight the cost people have paid for titles compared to even the pre-publication price. I like to hope that if more people were participating in community pricing that maybe more titles would go through community pricing rather than straight to pre-publication.

  5. I do not fully understand the total cost of the final product. If there is 12 volumne in the title and you put a bid for 30 Dollars, does that mean it will cost 12x $30 = $360 or does it cost $30 dollars for the whole lot?
    Thuy Le

  6. Great question. The price you bid is the total price you pay (before any applicable tax or shipping charges). So if you bid $5, and there is only 1 volume (and $5 is the winning bid), you would pay $5. If you bid $5, and there are 20 volumes, you would still pay only $5 total for all 20 volumes (not $5×20=$100). You’re bidding on the final price (before and tax and shipping), not on the per volume price. Hope this helps.

  7. I’m still a little uncertain of how this works…
    I am interested in the New Defender’s Study Bible (KJV) and The Word for Today Bible (NKJV). Both of these are just bibles of the indicated version with study notes by Henry Morris, Ph.D. and Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel respectively. I am also interested in these author’s other books (The Genesis Flood, The Genesis Record, The Revelation Record, etc. and Why Grace Changes Things, etc.).
    I also am interested in Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s works.
    Finally there are audio sermons for Pastor Chuck and Dr. McGee as well as Pastors Greg Laurie and Brian Broderson that it would be great to have available in Logos or at least links too.
    How would I go about promoting the addition of these works to the Logos format and packages. They are not public domain, but I am very interested in their being more widely available. I have even thought of donating to have them made available in as many forms and languages as possible.
    If there were some foundation that promoted this I would be interested in it.
    If I knew enough about creating such a foundation I would want to help bring one about.
    Anyway, could one promote these non-public domain works being added to Logos using the Community Pricing methodology?

  8. Some of the titles you mentioned are already available for purchase: The Genesis Record and J. Vernon McGee’s works. As for the others, the best way to suggest these titles is to post them in our suggestion forum or send an email to suggest@logos.com.