T.O.F.U. Now Comes With a Price

Cover for T.O.F.U. Now Comes With a Price

In the past, I’ve written a bunch about my decision to use a pay-what-you-can model for the magazine, and I’ve also talked about the struggle to sustain a business with such a set-up. Over the years, I’ve tweaked things here and there while also trying to minimize my personal expenses in an attempt to make the model work, but things still continue to be unstable.

Of course, as someone who has chosen slow full-time travel as part of my life, being unstable isn’t completely unwanted. I’m just getting a little tired of eating the same thing day in and day out, and that voice in the back of my head that knows I’m being more grasshopper than ant is telling me that winter will come eventually, whether or not I’m doing a great job of avoiding snow by being in SE Asia.

So, I’ve decided to make another change to how things are set-up in the online store, and I’m hoping it will help to address a number of issues I’ve been struggling with since I decided to follow the likes of Radiohead and let my supporters decide just how much each issue is worth.

Thus, for the first time since the store shifted to pay-what-you-can, a digital download now has a set price.

To clarify, I’m not abandoning the pay-what-you-can model completely as I still believe it has plenty of benefits, and I want to ensure access to each issue is limited as little as possible by finances. So, each issue on its own will still be made available for whatever price you want to pay, including free. It’s just The Complete T.O.F.U. bundle that now has a $10 CDN sticker price.

Why am I doing this? Here are a few reasons:

  • No More Guessing: A couple years ago, after working out the numbers for what folks were choosing to pay for the magazine, I decided to add a suggested price to each issue listing within the store. The reason for doing so was to help inform people what might be an appropriate price to pay so they wouldn’t have to worry about either over or underpaying. Since doing this, a majority of people who chose to pay typically picked an amount similar to what was recommended. So, it seems a number of people appreciate being given a certain number, and this set price will do just that.
  • Less Marketing Risk: One of the major struggles I have had since adopting the pay-what-you-can system has been a fear of investing money in marketing, especially in terms of social media promotion, only to have no actual return on the investment (Am I the only one who feels a little sick when writing sentences like that? Damn capitalism.) Given that the money I make from T.O.F.U. is what literally puts food in my mouth, risking any amount to try and increase sales is often something I’m not willing to do. However, now that I’m offering an option with a set price, I can invest in spreading the word about the magazine with the understanding that any sales will provide a direct income instead of only the possibility of one. As platforms like Facebook continue to move toward a need to pay for an audience, and people continue to stay within said platforms, feeling secure about paying for views will be a necessary evil.
  • Promoting All the Issues: Speaking of spreading the word, I decided to introduce a price to The Complete T.O.F.U. bundle instead of future issues of the magazine because I want people to also read past issues. As T.O.F.U.’s audience continues to grow, especially through social, I’m finding more and more people have not read the actual magazine, and being able to promote the bundle will help to offer them the chance to read it all. Even if I have my reservations about people seeing the first few issues before checking out where the magazine is now. Seriously, it’s like having to show people your grade school photo where you thought your dinosaur sweater was the best fashion choice ever, and now you’re more of a tshirt and jeans kind of person. Actually, dinosaur sweaters are still pretty cool, but you get the point!
  • Making Support Simple: Thanks to my experience with both the Kickstarter and the Patreon campaigns, I’ve come to realize that plenty of folks are interested in financially supporting the magazine, especially if it’s easy to do so. So, you now have the option to pay for all the past issues through the store, and you can also commit to paying for future issues through Patreon.
  • To Experiment: As an independent business owner, and also the sole person running the company, I have the privilege of being able to make decisions without a lot of debate. Obviously, this also means if the magazine fails in some way, it rests pretty much on my shoulders alone. However, the up side is that I can try things to see how they pan out, and then quickly change them in case things go south. So, whether or not this pricing model will stick depends on how it’s received by people, but for now I’m going to have fun trying it out!

On that note, what do you think? Whether or not you love the idea, it would be great to hear from you. Of course, if you choose to support the change by purchasing the bundle, great! To be honest, $10 can go a long way in SE Asia (where I’ve been since last December), and it sure would make my decision to focus on the magazine full-time a lot easier to justify if I could start paying my bills!

Related Posts

  1. Pingback: WAIW | Thanks to A Well-Fed World | T.O.F.U. Magazine

Post Response