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Recurring Revenue from Learning Material



My latest bootstrapped project is a cadre of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript learning tools and reference material. There will be a full “ebook” online, with no paywall, and then a bunch of video tutorials and related learning material available for purchase. The initial target is beginner web developers and designers. I’m also targeting professionals that need to solve HTML problems in a pinch (Designers, Internet Marketers, Journalists, Social Media Managers, etc.). The idea is to have material for individuals, but also have some professional grade material for folks who are in pain and have access to the company credit card.

So, two popular offers in this category (Treehouse and Lynda.com) both price with monthly memberships at various price points between $25 and $45 per month. Initially I was just thinking about selling the tutorial videos for $9.99 each, but then bundling other packages which would include material like exercises and code examples, such as the “Designers Package”, “Intermediate Developers Package”, and “Full Office Training Program” for $50 - $500 each. However, the thought of recurring revenue is very intriguing.

I’m not sure how to approach this decision, recurring monthly pricing, or package level pricing. I’m trying to find a way to look at the numbers and do projections, but there just isn’t enough information, since I have not released anything yet. And, will either choice trap me in a decision I can’t back out of?


Not sure if you’ve seen it but you might want to check out http://nathanbarry.com/authority/. On the surface I’d think the model he uses to sell his book would work for this. Different tiers each with more and costing more.

It sounds like it’s more a collection of info rather than an ongoing series of courses you’re going to keep building. If so, then the bundles sounds like the way to go. If it is ongoing then a recurring price could make sense. Perhaps you’d need to test that and/or make sure your value prop is clear enough that people see the long term value of paying $20/month.

Also, possibly related is my buddies ebook where he gives away all the content as blog posts, but also sells it as an ebook and he’s make some pretty serious money doing that with the upside that the content being published leads to new buyers, seo, all that. http://codebright.daylerees.com/


Thanks @ian.

Yeah, I’ve actually been following Nathan Barry, and that’s what had me settled on the package pricing model to begin with. But then the competitors in the space are pricing at monthly subscription rates. So it got me thinking, am I missing something?

But I just think Linda.com and Treehouse are under different pressures in terms of revenue vs. costs. It never felt right for me to have a subscription on either one, like they were trying to take advantage of the fact that I might forget to cancel it.

I think the value proposition for learning material makes more sense in terms of packages, that you buy once and download. And with software, people are always looking for the latest info, so there is recurring value there too. Michael Hartl has done really well with The Rails Tutorial this way.

I could still be missing something, but package pricing seems the way to go vs. subscription pricing.