According to an email sent out to affiliates, Digital Photography School has sold over 3,000 copies of their first ebook, The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography, in the first week of sales.
Darren Rowse, founder of Digital Photography School, blogger behind ProBlogger, and co-founder of the b5media blog network, has proved once again that he knows the ins and outs of the online publishing business.
One of the things Darren did in promoting this book was to reach out to photography-related blogs (ourselves included) and offer them affiliate partnerships. Affiliates link to the book using a special link, and are paid a 40% commission for every sale made through the link. With the special $14.95 opening week price, this translates to $5.98 for each sale made.
PetaPixel’s affiliate link has generated 4 sales so far, earning a commission of $23.92. However, we didn’t write a review of the book, which was recommended for maximizing sales, but simply included the link in a giveaway we ran. This affiliate program is the big reason you’ve likely seen numerous reviews of this ebook on photo-related blogs around the web in past few days.
What I wanted to point out was how profitable ebooks can be. There are virtually no printing or distribution costs, and even if each of the 3,000 first week sales were made through affiliates, Digital Photography School earned at least $26,910 from first week sales. Wow.
You might think that this success is due to the 350K+ RSS subscribers and millions of monthly readers that Digital Photography School boasts. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Haje Jan Kamps, blogger behind popular photography blog Photocritic.org, tells us that his latest book on concert photography, Put another dime in the jukebox, has already sold 50 copies in less than a week of sales.
Consider the fact that Photocritic has a much smaller audience than DPS, and the fact that Kamps’ books cost at least twice as much as Rowse’s ($31.43), and it quickly becomes clear that this too is another online publishing success.
These recent successes in online publishing tell me that ebooks and print-on-demand books are much more promising than I had previously thought.
If you’re a photographer well versed a particular area of photography, and have an audience through blogging or twitter, you might want to look into publishing your own book or ebook. It might just provide you with enough pocket change to fund some new gear!
Update: Since publishing this post, we’ve more than doubled the number of affiliate sales. I found that somewhat interesting, since I didn’t expect this post to generate any. Also, Darren posted some specifics today over at ProBlogger. $72,000 in the first week through 4,800 sales.