I recently fell onto the mailing list of an outfit called StoryBundle, an organization of which I had never heard until then. They’ve been operating at least since 2017, so that’s my bad. And while I’m not one to promote shamelessly (and full disclosure: I have no connection to these folks whatsoever and have not benefitted from their program), their operational model is an interesting one.
StoryBundle groups books by indie authors and sells them for a short time at a low base price (usually $3), inviting purchasers to pay what they will, as long as it’s at least that base amount. In the current bundle, you’d get four books for that $3. If you pay a minimum of $15, you get 11 books—the original four, plus seven more “bonus” books. You choose how much of your payment goes to the author and how much goes to StoryBundle, and a portion of your payment can go to a charity of your choice, as well.
The number of books in a bundle varies, and you can’t choose which books you get. You buy the preselected minimum bundle, or you also buy the bonus books. That’s it.
The bundles are arranged roughly by theme. Past bundles have focused on international crime; superheroes; Pride Month; fantastic beasts; cozy mysteries; African speculative fiction; cats; steampunk; kickass heroines; vampires; thrillers; cooking and crafting; time travel; bad fairies; space opera; black narratives; paranormal romance; plot twists; anarchists; LGBTQ+; Christmas cheer; Dr. Who; and science fiction, fantasy, and “weird” topics of every kind. As you can see, just about every taste can be found here. There have been more than 200 bundles so far, and, alas, their Q&A says that once the offer is gone, it’s gone. They don’t have a way to bring back past bundles yet, although they’re working on it.
The theme for the current month is “Glitter and Hope,” and the 11-book bundle contains novels, connected short stories, sequential novellas, and an anthology of stories connected by theme. One of them is a Nebula winner. Two of the novels are the first in a series.
I noticed that the person who curated the bundle included a story of her own. It’s a 48-page “novelette” selling individually on Amazon for $2.95. The author is the former fiction editor of Fantasy Magazine and a Nebula finalist for another story. This one has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon with 20 reviews. I read the first couple of pages and like it so far, so I’m not bothered by this self-promotion as I might otherwise be. And if you’re an author and you want your book to be included in a bundle, you can write them and ask. They’ll consider it.
A lot of people are reading a lot more these days, and StoryBundle seems like a—ahem—novel way to try out new authors for a very low price. This bundle offer is good for another three weeks or so. I think I’ll give it a shot.
What about you? How are you acquiring reading material these days?
I seem to remember people talking about Story Bundle on the old Baen.com forums (Baen is mostly known for military science fiction, although they do publish other things, including Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series). It’s great for voracious readers, because there’s a good variety, and generally something new.
I seem to remember that some of the books were re-prints — the writers had gotten their rights back, and did another pass-through the story and had them in a Bundle as an e-book. Keeps things in circulation!
One thing people liked about the bundles was no DRM. The books are theirs for as long as they want them on the computer (and it can be moved to other devices easily).
I’ve never gotten one, but this does look like a very interesting bundle! I may have to check into it! I really like that it has shorter fiction as well as book-length fiction.
LOL, to tell the truth, I’ve been stumbling upon weird things in my Google searches, and reading Gutenberg on my phone. I read a long and kind of boring book attacking the Theosophical Society (after Madame Blavatsky passed through the veil — as you may remember, I have a character named Bunny Blavatsky, so I felt I owed it to “research” to finish it, and there were nuggets of truth). I think the last four or five books I’ve read have been in the public domain.
I’m still sitting on half a dozen modern books in my Kindle; I should tackle one or two of those this weekend.
Gutenberg is a tremendous resource. I’ve read only one or two things from there, but it’s so interesting to see what they’re preserving. And I think you might be right about StoryBundle promoting military science fiction. There’s definitely several bundles that are focused on that. Plus look at that cover from this bundle! That space ship, or whatever it is.
I would think it a miracle if I had only a half-dozen or so new books on my Kindle! I bet I have hundreds. I just download faster than I read, I guess. But overall, it sounds like you’re in a good place for reading material!
This looks really interesting!
I’m currently reading Blooms of War by Suzanne Tierney. It’s a beautifully written romance set during and immediately after World War I. It comes out at the end of August.
Sounds good! I’ve been reading Jacqueline Winspears’s mystery series—it’s set in post-WWI London, and her Maisie Dobbs character was a nurse in France during the war. She has what today would be called PTSD, but the novel doesn’t use that terminology for her condition. I find the writing to be a little too leisurely for my taste, but I keep reading for the period details, which I’m enjoying no end. There’s a lot of good material in that time period, for sure.
Hmm. . . .I tried the first “Maisie Dobbs” book a while back and wasn’t impressed enough to continue on. Perhaps I’ll give her another try, for the period details if nothing else.
Well, you might enjoy them, but it’s a minimalist enjoyment, I’d say. I’m not going to gush that you should try again. The books were a post-surgical gift from my cousin, who loves them and thought the gentle approach would be good for an extended recovery period. She keeps asking me if I’ve read them. I’m hoping that if I keep going, I’ll come to love them as she does. I have six; I’m on my third. Left to my own devices, I’d have stopped after one, but I guess I’m engaged enough that I’ll finish the series unless they go in a direction I don’t like.
In all honesty, I’ll admit that I read the first book solely based on the cover, but great covers wasn’t enough to get me to book 2. I’ve seen great reviews though, so I feel like I should give them a second shot. On the other hand, my TBR pile is substantial, so . . . .
Will check it out….