Why We Don’t Discount Our eBooks (and Some eBooks We Think you Should Buy!)

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’s Creative Landscape Photography

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).

Mitchell Kanashkevich’s  Rabari – Encounters With the Nomadic Tribe

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).

Pinch of Yum’s Tasty Food Photography

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!

Christopher O’Donnell’s The Art of Bokeh

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.

About the Author

I am a Canadian landscape and outdoor photographer who loves long hikes in the woods, yummy food, hairy dogs, good company and a good guitar jam.


  1. Jay Gould
    August 11, 2012

    Well said! I have two of the four mentioned; they are absolute bounce for the buck: Tal and O’Donnell.

    O’Donnell’s bokeh is the antithesis of the TSE; they are both tools to be used to create the final vision of any scene.

  2. Bret Edge
    August 11, 2012

    I echo your sentiment about Guy. Amazing writer, photographer and all-around good human being. As talented as he is, he’s still one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. I own all of his e-books and my collection will continue to grow with each one he releases.

    To the point of discounting e-books, I agree. I never discounted my own e-book and I never will. I charge $14.95 for it and I think it’s worth every penny. Granted, I’m biased but frankly, I’m not a big fan of the “hard sell” and I feel a time limited discount is much too similar.

    Great post, Darwin.

  3. Ron Paris
    August 12, 2012

    I have purchased a few ebooks and would have to agree 100% with the comments you make. However, I also have your book on filters as well as two others you had published earlier. They are excellent and certainly provide the reader with some stunning images as well as easy to follow and understand guidance to getting into the use of filters.

    If I had one problem with the books it would be that they introduced me two yet another way to spend money to ‘get it right in camera’. Don’t get me wrong, I WILL be investing in ND filters and a holder system because of what you have taught me about filters.

    Once that its done, only then will I buy your tilt/shift book as your free videos on that little gem blew me away. You definitely provide your readers with goals!

    BTW: this post, Darwin, is being forwarded to a daughter who is a terrific cook and has great potential as s photographer. The book by Lindsay looks like a wonderful way to encourage her. Thanks for the suggested ebooks.


    • Samantha
      August 12, 2012

      It’s like kids in a candy store, Ron, kids in a candy store…. there’s so much cool stuff out there to learn about in photography. Photographers all have thin, little wallets. 🙂

  4. Peter Amundsen
    August 12, 2012

    I agree with your philosophy of not discounting your e-books. I feel the price is fair and great value. Compared to most magazines that are fairly highly priced your books contain a lot of good solid instruction.


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