THE marketing strategy for selling eBooks online is the time-limited discount code. Almost every photographer or website out there that sells eBooks offers some sort of discount at some time or another. We did that back when we sold our first eBooks on Visual Wilderness and on my old blog. And it works! How many of you have purchased an eBook or set of eBooks because the offer was so attractive you simply could not pass up the deal? We have! And how many of you have actually read, used or even remember the eBooks you purchased this way? We have a library of eBooks that have never seen the light of our computer screens past the initial glance-over on purchase.
On the other hand, how many times has there been an eBook that you actually wanted but that you didn’t buy right away because you were waiting for a discount code or special to show up so you could get it cheaper? Finally, you give up only to find it selling somewhere else two days later at 50% off! We hate that too!
When we started oopoomoo, we decided not to discount our eBooks. We feel that they are already a pretty darn good deal for the quality of the images, instruction and Stephen’s design skills contained in them. We also think it kind of sucks if our friends buy one of our eBooks and then find them discounted either at a later point in time or at another site. Finally, junk is junk: even if an eBook is free, if it ain’t worth the consumer’s time to buy, download and read it, you as an author just wasted that person’s time. While nothing in business is ever set in stone (if you want to stay alive), we’re pretty happy with this one. We want you to buy our books because you want to read them and learn not because they were ‘a steal’.
Finally, we don’t offer oopoomoo eBooks on affiliate programs where others post or review our eBook on their site and then get a cut off the sales. If you see a review of one of our eBooks elsewhere you can rest assured the reviewer did not get a kickback. And same goes here: when we review an eBook we’ll give you our honest opinions and, if you buy an eBook based on a link in our review, the author gets 100% of the sale (as it should be).
Good photography eBooks are rare. Ones that are well written, have great instruction, wonderful photos and are inspiring are even more rare. So, in the spirit of this post, here are four stand-outs we have seen over the last few years that you might want to consider buying and reading:
Guy Tal is one of the best writers in photography today. Period. But beyond his thoughtful writing, he is one bloody talented photographer and a hell of an instructor. If you only can afford one eBook, buy the one above! Or better yet go to Guy’s eBook page and buy any of the titles that interest you. Bang for your buck, these books are it — discounts or not. (Full disclosure: ok, ok, we’ve met Guy and we like the man. He may try to deny it, but we think he’s our friend! He doesn’t know we’re writing this so boy would he be surprised if he woke up tomorrow with a spike in sales — woot! Do yourself a favour and check out his eBooks, though — they really are the best on the market).
When we first glanced through this eBook we thought, “hey this is just a rip off of a David duChemin-style, Craft and Vision eBook“. But closer inspection proved us wrong in a delightful way! Here is a story of a photographer just starting out and going on a 4-month journey to India with a Canon Rebel and three inexpensive prime lenses and coming away with stunner shoots as good as anyone with high end gear and a lot of travel experience could make. Mitchell shows us his 10 favorite shots and describes the back story of making the images from concept to execution to post processing decisions. This eBook is refreshing because it shows that gear does not limit our creativity, we do! Worth the read for inspiration alone (full disclosure, we were sent this eBook for free to review — we like it and think it is worth the full price).
Speaking of refreshing, this eBook on food photography really caught our eyes. First of all, Lindsay, the author, is a newbie at photography with her start in 2010. In the short time since then, by using a dSLR with a prime lens, window light and home-made reflectors, Lindsay has learned to make mouth-watering food photography the equal of anything that comes from a high end food studio with all the best lighting gear and high end digital cameras. The eBook shows you exactly how she makes her food images with simple lighting and a strong emphasis on styling and composition. She has really great tips and tricks without all the technobabble that comes in most photography how-to eBooks. As well, we really like the fun and quirky design of the eBook and the conversational writing style. If you like food and recipes we highly recommend the Pinch of Yum blog! Thanks Lindsay for a photography eBook that breaks the mould! We bought this book using a 50% discount code. It captured us the minute we opened the PDF and this is one of the rare eBooks we feel bad that the author did not get full price!
Want dreamy, mystical, moody, painterly images? Well then check out Chris’ eBook on Bokeh (the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image). Here is an eBook all about using wide open apertures like f1.4 or f1.8 to get super thin slices of focus and dreamy blur in landscape photography. But getting photos like we see in Chris’ eBook is not as easy as buying a fast lens and shooting wide open; there is much more to it than that! Fortunately, this wonderfully illustrated and well-designed eBook gives us the guidelines we need to make impressionistic-style images sure to make our painter friends’ hearts flutter. We paid full price on this one; it was worth every penny!
So, don’t waste your dollars – consume what you buy or save your bucks.