Linked: A New Merchandising Option for Web Fiction

Wibbly Press’s got a new merchandising option for the web fiction community:

Early next year, Wibbly will start producing merchandise and selling it through our site, and we want to offer our services to the the web serial community. You may have considered, or even be using services such as Cafepress or Zazzle, but find the costs and low payouts to you troubling. I can assure you our prices will be more than competitive and have outlined the differences below.

You earn up to US$18.25 per shirt, and that’s just for starters.

Interested in writing and publishing digital books? We're building Pandamian — the easiest way to publish a book online.

Category: Linked List


  • http://clarekrmiller.digitalnovelists.com Clare K. R. Miller

    I don’t think that’s quite accurate, Eli–the $4.56 is just a random example. Authors can choose how much commission they receive, which affects the price the item is sold for. It sounds like it’s the same system as Cafepress uses (I’m not familiar with Zazzle), but cheaper, so you can sell items for the same price but make more money with Wibbly.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    That’s the absolute minimum, I think – but I may be mistaken. Thought it would be good to put that up, and include the clause ‘and that’s for starters’ at the end. Does it make more sense now? Or should I edit?

  • http://clarekrmiller.digitalnovelists.com Clare K. R. Miller

    I don’t see a minimum mentioned, just a maximum. I thought the “and that’s just for starters” in your post meant “and there are other benefits to this option,” which there are, after all.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Ahh, true, there’s no minimum – only a maximum. Right-o, off to the edit panel.

  • http://www.brainhandles.com Greg Bulmash

    I don’t know where they’re getting their price comparisons.

    Zazzle’s “base price” for a black t-shirt is $22.95, but that includes 10% “royalty” commission and another possible 7% referral commission ($3.90 if you sent the sale from your site with an affiliate link), and then they also have volume bonuses that can boost your payout higher without ever raising the sale price of the shirt above $22.95.

    Instead, Wibble lists the $22.95 and adds the entire commission onto it, grossly distorting the price the shirt would have to sell for to create a $4.56 commission.

    CafePress has a base price of $18.99 on a plain black t-shirt for shopkeepers, not $25. For $4.56 in profit, your sale price would be $23.55, not $29.56. But you only get that price in your “shop” if someone goes directly via one of your links.

    If someone finds your product via CafePress’s “Marketplace” (i.e. search from the front page or another shopkeeper’s shop), they may sell it for $25 and then only give you a flat 10% commission.

    But Wibbly appears to be in Australia and has said the shipping cost for a shirt and a couple of badges to the U.S. would be about $15 AUD ($13.70 USD based on the exchange rates they use in their demo numbers), so you’ll have a lot of your U.S. readers abandoning their carts when they see the shipping costs.

    If you have a large Australian readership, Wibbly might be a good choice as a cheaper alternative for them than U.S.-based sellers. But otherwise, it’s really not a good deal for authors with a large U.S. readership.

    Furthermore, if they’re so willing to mislead with such inaccurate numbers, how much can you trust them?

  • http://requirecookie.com Stormy

    @Greg

    My apologies, I wasn’t aware that Zazzle included a 10% royalty in their $22.95 (I was aware of the 10% minimum, but it didn’t state anywhere that I could find that this was included in their base price).

    CafePress has a base price of $18.99 on a plain black t-shirt for shopkeepers, not $25.
    Again, was basing this on their base price, not taking the affiliate links into account – as you may not always come in from the discount like, in the case of wanting to buy a shirt for Serial A, then doing a search for Serial B and finding one of those as well, you may not think to go to Serial B’s site and go add the product to the cart through that method.

    so you’ll have a lot of your U.S. readers abandoning their carts when they see the shipping costs
    A lot of the feedback I’ve been getting does agree with this, but then some people have stated a wish to use us for their Australian, EU and UK readership – as readers in these regions feel a similar sense of dread when we have to shop online through a US store.

    Furthermore, if they’re so willing to mislead with such inaccurate numbers, how much can you trust them?
    As I’ve said, the intent was never to mislead – I never sighted the information about the included royalty and assumed that like most POD services the the base price was just that, the base price.

    I apologise if you feel that I was intentionally trying to throw the numbers to work in my favour, that is something I would never do.

  • http://www.brainhandles.com Greg Bulmash

    Stormy,

    In the case of wanting to buy a shirt for Serial A, then doing a search for Serial B and finding one of those as well, you may not think to go to Serial B’s site and go add the product to the cart through that method.

    But then they do not add the seller’s mark-up for “marketplace” purchases, so you’re still giving bad numbers. Those purchases would be a flat price with the seller picking up 10%. The seller cannot set a commission on those.

    Here’s an example…

    My store:

    http://www.cafepress.com/bulmashdesigns.331291676

    The shirt is $23.95 and I make a $4.96 commission.

    Marketplace (search):

    http://www.cafepress.com/+haiku_about_bacon_dark_tshirt,331291676

    The shirt is $28.00 and I make a $2.80 commission. I cannot set a commission in this instance, nor can I set the price. I either let CafePress charge whatever they want and accept 10% or I get removed from the marketplace and lose any search-generated sales.

    There are lots of way to compare yourself favorably against CafePress. They’re bastards, IMO, and the bigger they’ve grown, the more they’ve screwed the small shopkeepers who helped them build their business.

    I’m not defending them, but attacking your bad numbers.

    The details of the CafePress and Zazzle programs are available on their sites.

    If you’re a marketer for Wibbly, these “mistaken” claims could possibly be prosecuted as deceptive under truthful advertising laws. You must make an effort to get it right, and IMO, you didn’t make enough of one.

    If you’re a journalist, it’s even more shameful, because marketers never claim to be representing facts.

  • http://airtheremin.wordpress.com Sebatinsky

    Greg – bitter much?

    I think you raise some decent points about the math and about the assertions made by Wibbly. On the other hand, you just sound angry. “…marketers never claim to be representing facts”? Really?
    And that after Stormy made a (decent) effort to explain the numbers they came up with.

  • http://www.ditchwalk.com Mark Barrett

    http://www.wibblypress.net/ says the account is not active.

    Not encouraging.

  • http://requirecookie.com Stormy

    Hence why my link here at the moment is for requirecookie.com (and also the link at the top of the page). We’ve just finished shifting from one hosting service to another, and because of some issues, it was easier to transfer everything into a new domain, and worry about changing the url back later on (which we’re currently doing).