Time to charge for access to your content?

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Regular Crucible readers, and anyone who has read my eBook, will be familiar with my sermons on the need to provide informative, useful content in order to build trust and credibility with website visitors. Whilst giving away free content is a great way of making friends, it’s not going to pay any bills and it certainly doesn’t write itself.

Well, some web publishers have had enough of relying on ad clicks to keep them fed and have moved to paid membership models.

Subscriptions offer greater stability

Over on the Teaching Sells blog, Brian Clark has discussed why a popular eBook and an SEO consultancy have now switched to charging subscriptions for accessing their latest content.

The content they provide is so highly regarded and in such demand that they are now in a position where charging a monthly rate seems the only logical, and sensible, way of compensating themselves for the time they invest in sharing their expertise.

Whilst I can’t see The Copywriter’s Crucible charging an entrance fee anytime soon, I can understand why websites with such a large regular audience and reputation feel that the time is right to evolve from living off a drip feed of ad clicks.

Is there still money to be made from eBooks?

News of the first few sites to switch to subscriptions has arrived just when I’m looking at developing other revenue streams beyond straightforward copywriting.

Since I’ve started reading Skellie’s Anywired blog, about living the jetset remote worker lifestyle, my spare moments are now absorbed in trying to think up a passive business model which can generate income even when I’m not hammering away at my keyboard.

Of the internet business ideas suggested in a recent Anywired post the most feasible for me seems to be that of knocking out a few eBooks and mining some untapped niches.

The principle behind an eBook is the same as any online learning resource – information is freely available on the web and an eBook simply packages it into a coherent format that’s easier for readers to consume.

How can you add value to an eBook?

Perhaps the key to attracting buyers is not only repackaging information, but being able to offer value beyond an ordinary eBook.

This could be in the form of regular updates, personal support or a private forum for discussing the topic – all of which will require ongoing maintenance and support.

For which only a subscription based payment model will suffice.

This is going to need some thought.

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