It’s time to talk seriously about ecommerce, author websites, and ModFarm. Because it’s starting to get real 😉
For years now, Amazon has been the key marketplace, with 99% of our authors (and probably all authors) selling books on Amazon. For those who are “wide” there is trickle down to other stores, but the primary seller remains Amazon. Enter Kindle Unlimited, and that became even more so. Website stores were mainly for signed copies and POD merch, maybe a few collector or special run items.
Then things started to change. Some genres, and even authors, have seen their books delisted or no longer promoted by the Amazon algorithm. Some authors have been taken off other platforms, such as Patreon. And, KU page reads have started going down in some genres, changing the economics of exclusivity.
This has opened up some experimentation into subscription memberships and direct sales. And some of those experiments have gotten to be quite large.
In the past two months, ModFarm has opened more stores and ecommerce services than in the last two years. And we’ve gone from a couple of items to hundreds of items per store. We have two major subscription services – almost their own KU or Audible Membership – with more considering it.
As a result of this, we’re looking to invest in eCommerce for our sites in a significant way, with the stated intent to make them a rival to third party commerce solutions/services such as Shopify, Patreon, and SubStack. This includes features such as up-selling, cross-selling, advanced variations, bundling, advanced discounts, subscriptions and memberships, reports, taxes, shipping, and more.
This includes not only the plugins we use, but also the way we go about building and structuring stores.
In addition, our ModFarm Newsletter system integrates directly with a site’s ecommerce, allowing us to add customers to targeted lists, automated sequences, and advanced and automated retargeting. And, as always, books and products can be directly inserted into those newsletters, allowing for follow ups, up- and cross-sells, pre-orders, and more.
Also, with our new ModFarm 3 infrastructure (currently rolling out to all sites), we can integrate store items into book pages in multiple ways, from direct “add to cart action” buttons to actually embedding related products.
With this additional capability does come some additional cost, but we’ve taken every step to keep this very affordable, especially when compared to our competition.
Here’s how that brakes down:
Patreon – 5% per transaction
Substack – 10% per transaction
Shopify – $39/mo (Basic Plan)
ModFarm – $50/year
ModFarm does not take any percentage of sale – subscription or otherwise. Never have and never will. We provide the site and the necessary functions to make it work, that’s it. The $50/year is for maintenance and the various plug-in licenses to expand WooCommerce’s basic capabilities.
What about adding new products? Our standard rates apply, which is $10/product listing (up to 3 variations per product). Our members can always add their own (and many do), but if you want ModFarm to do it, standard pricing applies. If you have a support subscription, product adds will be covered to the limit of the subscription (same as with books), which equates to a maximum of 4 product pages a month under the standard support rate. We’ve expanded on our support policy, so might want to give that a review over here.
As author focused ecommerce continues to evolve, we’ll likely make some adjustments, adding capability, refining processes and the like. But, we do see on site ecommerce as a viable income stream for authors and publishers moving forward and we are committed to supporting it.
How will this roll out?
For all existing stores on ModFarm sites, the $50 annual fee will start when your site is transitioned over to the new ModFarm 3.0 infrastructure. As part of that upgrade, we will review with each author how they want their store to work with the new capabilities, make those changes, and billing will follow after that.
Moving forward, for new sites with stores or new stores on existing sites, the annual charge will start once that store is set up and live.