Humble Bundle was the first one to do it, as far as I know, and they started with a package that offered books from Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, and more. The interesting facet of Humble Bundle is that it allows consumers to choose how much they want to pay for the bundle. The bundle is only offered for a limited time, and there is a suggested price, but you can choose to pay whatever. If you pay more than the suggested price, you get bonus gifts, such as another e-book.
But what’s really great is the data Humble Bundle shares. Scroll down and you can see how many bundles were sold and the average price. For the first e-book bundle consisting of eight books, over 29,000 bundles were sold in less than one day, at an average price of $12.11, showing that people are willing to pay for content, even when they have the option to get if for free. This reminds me of when Radiohead let fans pick the price of their “In Rainbows” album in 2007, and they still made money.
For publishers, offering bundles can be a great experiment that helps show pricing and purchasing habits of readers.
Although Humble Bundle doesn’t regularly offer e-book bundles (they usually offer games), there is a new site, StoryBundle, that only offers indie e-books. It will be interesting to see how it fares, and how it might help inform the publishing industry.