Sahil Lavingia on October 11th, 2012
Nathan Barry is a user experience designer in Boise, Idaho, and he recently released his App Design Handbook through Gumroad. He made more than $12,000 in his first day, and has made $23,000+ in the four weeks since it was released. We chatted with Nathan about the book, his launch strategy, and his experience with Gumroad so far. You can follow him on Twitter here.
What are you selling? What’s the story behind it?
The App Design Handbook is everything I know about designing great iOS applications compressed into 125 pages. Since the iPad came out I’ve been fascinated with designing for iOS and have quite a lot of success designing and selling my own applications. People kept asking for design tips and practical information, that I had to put it into a book. I didn’t want a book about design theory or something abstract, but instead straightforward concepts with real world examples to learn from. All things that will help you craft an app that your users will love.
Why is Gumroad a good fit for the App Design Handbook?
I spend so much time talking in the book about how important it is to design a great user experience. Then when I went to find a payment processor all the checkout experiences were terrible, at least that is until I tried Gumroad. The checkout experience is focused and easy. The attention to detail is fantastic. It would be hypocritical of me to write a book about designing great experiences and then sell it through PayPal when I have Gumroad as an option.
You did something pretty unique with the different tiered bundles, can you explain that strategy a bit? Was it successful?
Yes, I had three different price points. $39, $79, and $169. The base package includes just the book, the next package has a bunch of resources and video tutorials, and the final package also includes code samples and even more resources. The idea was to have something for everyone. Different people are comfortable spending different amounts for training, so the packages let them pick the one that is right for them. If you want videos and code samples then that is available to you, or if you just want the book you can save quite a bit of money.
Was it successful? Yes, very. I made almost as much money from the complete package as I did from the other two combined. Despite selling less than 1/3 the number of copies. Offering multiple packages is the best decision I made throughout this process. It has, without a doubt, made me an extra $10,000.
Did you hear any feedback from buyers on the Gumroad buying experience? Any cool stories from them?
They loved it. Many asked who I used for checkout and how could I get away with not having a dozen fields for the payment information (address, name, etc). Selling with Gumroad was so easy that it immediately made me want to sell more products.
What are your favorite things about the Gumroad platform?
The focus on a great user experience. Even though the platform is new, so many details are just right. That and the support is really good. It’s rare that I wait longer than 20-30 minutes for a response to an email. You guys were awesome with answering questions as I got the product setup, and fixing issues along the way.
It is inevitable, when using any software, that something will go wrong. So what matters is how the team handles it when that happens. Gumroad support is very responsive and helpful with useful information. Not canned responses.
What could we do better?
There were a few issues that came up in the process. The two biggest had to do with emails being delivered and the receipts not being detailed enough. So I had to resend a dozen or so purchase emails, but conveniently that is really easy from the seller interface. The purchase receipts took some more time. Many purchasers, especially in the EU, needed detailed receipts for tax records. I made those on my own computer and sent them out manually. It would be nice to have the Gumroad receipt look more official so that it would work for taxes and company reimbursement.
Since I am using the Gumroad modal the browser doesn’t display HTTPS in the address bar, making people assume it is not secure. Not knowing the iFrame the payment modal is loaded into does use HTTPS. I brought this up to the Gumroad team and they had a fix within a day. Note that this wasn’t an actual security problem (everything always has been secure), just an issue with what users perceived.
I love seeing the rapid improvements to the platform. Thanks for everything!