The Economics of Web-based Books is Not Viable
After PayPal fees, I made exactly $9.99 on the second edition of Vietnamese Typography. I had put tremendous amount of effort into the revision, but it is not paid off. My only hope left is that the book still provides the value for anyone who is interested in the Vietnamese language and that I will get some advising work with type designers.
As for me, I have learned an invaluable lesson on publishing web-based books. When I first read Practical Typography, I was intrigued by Matthew Butterick’s experimentation. His writing on “The Economics of a Web-based Book” inspired me to take this route. I am glad it worked out for him. I am not a business savvy. Putting up the entire book for free is a terrible marketing strategy; therefore, I do not recommend this approach. The web is a great place for sharing information, but it is still not a good platform for getting paid for the knowledge you shared.
With that said, I still feel good about my small contribution to the web design community (Professional Web Typography) and type design community (Vietnamese Typography). I want to thank those who have read and supported my effort.