So, bundling is a thing. Has been for a few years now. Some writers I know are into bundling, and various people whose blogs I read post about this or that bundle that's going around. I bought a few, back when they were new and cool, and there were a few books in a bundle that I wanted, and the price was great so why not?
Well, it turned out there was a pretty big "why not." And that's this -- the only way I've found to sideload an e-book onto my tablet ends up with that book in the "Documents" area about 3/4 of the time, stripped of its cover, added to a plain text list that I hardly ever look at. I fiddled around with it, and finally kind of gave up. At this point, I don't even particularly go after free books, unless the author doing the give-away is using Bookfunnel*.
And all those bundles I bought? I never did download any of them, because the thought of struggling to get them onto my tablet (in the Books section) just made me want to go hide under the covers. :P Eventually I stopped buying bundles. Why pay the money if I wasn't going to actually get the books?
Well, now there's an solution to that problem.
A new(ish) outfit called Bundlerabbit has a great innovation -- they not only sell you a bundle themselves, they'll also sell it to you through your favorite vendor. So if, like me, you read your e-books on an Amazon tablet, you go to the Bundlerabbit site, find a bundle you want, click the "Purchase" button and then select where you want to buy the bundle. If you buy from Bundlerabbit directly, you can pay what you want, from the minimum up to whatever. If you want to buy from a vendor, like Amazon, you'll just pay the minimum price to get all the books. That is, if there are multiple tiers that give you different numbers of books, the whole set is offered at the third-party vendor sites, at whatever the minimum price is to get that tier. So Bundlerabbit and the authors involved are theoretically losing some money here, whatever extra amount readers might've decided to pay, but on the other hand they can capture purchases from people like me, who don't want to hassle with side-loading books. I wouldn't have bought their bundle at all if I couldn't buy it from Amazon. And I'll bet I'm not the only one who feels that way.
From the author's point of view, Bundlerabbit is easy to use, and Chuck Heintzelman, the guy who owns the business, is very helpful and responsive to questions. You create an author account, and can upload your books (novels, short stories, whatever you like), with marketing blurbs and keywords to help potential bundle curators find your books that fit their theme. If a curator wants to include a book of yours in a bundle, they contact you and you work out the terms. If you want to curate a bundle, you can do that too. If you want to edit an anthology but don't want to hassle with collecting money from all the vendors, doing the math and cutting your sixteen authors each a check every three months, Bundlerabbit will do that for you -- set up your anthology like a short story bundle, have your authors upload their stories to the site and curate your anthology, and Bundlerabbit will pay you all. (Seriously, this is the one big hassle that's made me shudder at the thought of ever editing an anthology, having to do all the accounting and the math, and cut everyone a check for $2.18 every six months. :P With Bundlerabbit, it's not an issue anymore.)
Bundlerabbit is also working on offering accounting services for multiple creators on one project -- sort of a reverse bundle. So if you want to collaborate with someone -- if you and a friend worked together on a project, you can publish it through Bundlerabbit and they'll handle all the accounting from all the different vendors and pay you individually. If you co-wrote a novel with two other writers, plus you had an artist do the cover art and a map and some interior illos, and you promised them a royalty percentage, Bundlerabbit will handle that accounting for you. These collaborative accounts are in beta right now, but should go live some time this summer.
Yes, I've heard Chuck speak about this a few times. :) I know him, he's a good guy. I haven't used the author-end of Bundlerabbit yet myself, but I know a bunch of writers who have, and who've been very happy with the experience.
Chuck also did an interview with Joanna Penn recently, so go check that out, give it a read or a listen, if you're interested. Or just check out the Bundlerabbit site, try buying a bundle, and/or create a free author account and poke around.
This is a great service, with a lot of cool features the other, better-known bundling sites haven't even thought of yet. I hope it gets huge.
*Bookfunnel is an excellent app that lets an author (or whoever is giving away a book) upload whatever formats they have to Bookfunnel, and then give folks a download code. You go to the Bookfunnel site, download their free app to your reader or tablet one time, then get your book. Bookfunnel downloads the right format and installs it on your device. If you have trouble, or need some help the first time, Bookfunnel handles all tech support, which is a very good thing for the writers using their service. I've used this to get free books from several authors, and it's worked wonderfully every time. Highly recommended, whether you're a reader who likes free books, or a writer who wants to give away some books but doesn't want to get stuck doing dozens or hundreds of hours of tech support on reader platforms you're probably not familiar with.