Economics of Go Books

Nobody gets rich by writing or selling books about go.

I recently had a 3-day sale where all the books at were 20% off. It was the first sale in the twelve years of Go Books. Integrating with the newest Stripe API made such a sale possible, as well as making sure authors and publishers would be paid based on the regular price – no need to coordinate with all of them, and no complications to the already complicated royalty calculations.

It was a great success – web sales were about 25x of normal during that period. The new Stripe integration held up. I found some issues, e.g. the data I’m collecting is no longer helping me automatically identify refunds, and exporting the Stripe purchases doesn’t currently include the coupon used.

Some numbers: In total, you all spent about $3,500 on a bit over 400 books during that sale – thank you! Almost $2,200 of that will be paid as royalty to authors and publishers. Stripe took about $230 (2.9% + $0.30 comes to almost 7% for these small transactions). Taxes of €54 will be going to the European Union. That leaves just over $1,000 for Smart Go. Yeah!

So clearly there was pent-up demand for a sale – I had no idea. What’s less clear is how this will affect the future: How many purchases were just pulled forward and would have happened anyway? Are readers now going to wait for the next sale (which won’t happen for a while) before buying any more books? And many of you will simply be very busy reading go books for a long time.

So what will Smart Go, Inc. do with that $1,000? Conversion of printed go books to digital is a human-intensive operation. Having electronic copies of the diagrams and text helps; for older books, those have to be re-created. Each inline diagram is lovingly created by hand. That big next book coming out soon? Conversion to Go Books format has cost me more than $3,000 so far.

As I said, nobody is getting rich by writing or selling books about go.