Tag: sale

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 gobooks.com 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.

Go Books Sale

Not much progress on the Mac version of SmartGo One these last few weeks, thanks to the European Union. The EU now requires sales tax on go book sales, so I had to upgrade the integration of the gobooks.com backend with Stripe. Stripe’s newest checkout page handles collection of the appropriate taxes; I still get to do the fun part of submitting them. At least the EU lets you pay to a single country (I chose Ireland, so the forms are all in English), and they distribute from there.

So I’ve been working with PHP, MySQL, and webhooks, not my favorite activity, nor my area of expertise. At least I didn’t ship the bug where it sent you a free copy of SmartGo for Windows with every book purchase – I found that one before it went into production. Everything now seems to work well, but who knows what I messed up. Definitely needs more real-world testing.

The new checkout page not only deals with taxes, but also allows other payment options, like Apple Pay. And discounts now work. So to encourage you to buy those books you’ve long had your eye on, use coupon MINUS20 for 20% off any books at gobooks.com (also works for SmartGo for Windows).

This 20% discount is valid through Monday March 6. It’s the first discount in the 12 years of Go Books, so please grab this opportunity. (Note that royalties to authors and publishers are always based on the regular price, so they get their full payment.)

More improvements to gobooks.com (e.g. a shopping cart so you can buy multiple books at once, or complete a series) will have to wait for next year. Back to working on SmartGo One for the Mac.