First of all, I'm sorry that this was not communicated better. We greatly value our authors, and we are very happy that you use our platform.
In terms of what happened:
The changes that we initially made (on May 22, 2022) are summarized here: https://mailchi.mp/leanpub/2022-q2-author
The updates that we made three days later (on May 25, 2022) are summarized here: https://mailchi.mp/leanpub/2022-q2-author-follow-up
We did try to communicate about this a fair bit as we did it:
On Sunday, May 22 at about 5:43 PM Pacific Time we deployed these changes. When we did that, we also did the following:
We posted a very long essay that I wrote, explaining all the changes: https://leanpub.com/imagine_a_world
Besides posting that essay at that URL, we also posted the essay on our homepage as well.
We sent an author newsletter (to about 11,000 people) about it: https://mailchi.mp/leanpub/2022-q2-author
We posted in our author forum here
We tweeted about the author newsletter post.
We got a lot of feedback from our authors after we launched these changes. So, besides listening to the feedback, three days later, on Wednesday, May 25, we made five changes summarized here.
We added the ability for any author to opt out of the Reader Membership revenue share.
We made free coupons work again
We sent another author newsletter describing the changes here: https://mailchi.mp/leanpub/2022-q2-author-follow-up
We posted in our author forum here.
We updated the essay to reflect the changes made.
We tweeted the entire updated author newsletter post as an image: https://twitter.com/leanpub/status/1529582767331221508
So, we honestly did try to let all of our authors know.
The big mistake was in the initial lack of advance notice. That was a mistake, and it was my mistake.
Now, in terms of prices:
We have unilaterally raised minimum prices in the past, by the way: once upon a time, the minimum price of a Leanpub book was $0.99. We raised it from that to $2.99 and then to $4.99. Going from $0.99 to $2.99 is an approximately 300% increase, whereas going from $4.99 to $7.99 is much less.
It is our honest belief, and our position, that any book which is worth $4.99 is worth $7.99. When you think about the time it takes someone to find a book, choose to buy it, read it, and hopefully learn something, if that was worth $4.99 to them, it is worth $7.99. Now, there may be some books, such as very short ones, where it is questionable whether it is worth either $4.99 or $7.99. For this case, our new Reader Membership changes are an incredible improvement here. Now authors can earn money from books with free minimum prices, as long as they do not opt out of the Reader Membership revenue share.
So, you can have a book with a Free Minimum Price, a $7.99 (or higher) Suggested Price, and you can earn 80% royalties from the paid purchases and you can earn a revenue share from the free purchases, as long as you do not opt out.
I would go into that point further, but I think I might just end up repeating my essay and forum posts. So, the best thing to do is to refer you to the communication that we did at the time:
The initial author newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/leanpub/2022-q2-author
The follow-up author newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/leanpub/2022-q2-author-follow-up
The (updated) essay explaining all our thinking: https://leanpub.com/imagine_a_world
The initial author forum thread here
The follow-up author forum thread here
If you are a Leanpub author who wants to discuss this further, I'm happy to do so, either by email exchange or on a Zoom call. We are in Victoria, BC, Canada, but despite any time zone differences, I'm sure I can find a time for a Zoom call which works for you. If you want to talk, please email me at email@example.com.
Thank you very much for being a Leanpub author, and I'm sorry again about the poor communication on my part.