Name your own price for a sci-fi e-book bundle

StoryBundles Big Bang Bundle gives you five sci-fi novels for whatever you want to pay -- or seven if you pay at least $7.

StoryBundle’s Big Bang Bundle gives you five sci-fi novels for whatever you want to pay — or seven if you pay at least $7.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET)

I love books. I also love bundles. Typically, the latter consist of things like indie games and productivity software and give you some pretty serious bang for the buck.

If only some clever developer would combine these two loves of mine.

Done! The StoryBundle Big Bang Bundle lets you name your own price for five “indie” e-books. And if you pay at least $7, you’ll get two bonus books.

This is StoryBundle’s first offering, and hopefully it won’t be the last. As with any number of game bundles I’ve covered before, this one lets you choose what you want to pay (as little as 1 cent), then decide how to distribute those funds between the authors and StoryBundle. (My take: an 80/20 split seems about right.)

You also have the option of donating 10 percent of your purchase to either of two charities: Mighty Writers and Trees for the Future. You can pay via Amazon, Google, or PayPal.

I’ll admit that I didn’t expect much from this bundle. When it comes to books, “indie” is often synonymous with “hack” (meaning the author) or “unpublishable” (meaning the content). And, sure enough, I’d never heard of any of the authors or titles. (Editors’ note: One of the included authors, Geoffrey Morrison, is a freelance CNET blogger.)

In looking at the user reviews on Amazon, all of them rate at four stars or above; however, all but one (“The Heretic” by Joseph Nassise) have 10 or fewer reviewers — which is anything but conclusive. Still, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that — for sci-fi fans — this looks to be a solid collection.

Plus, like all good indie bundles, it’s offered without DRM, so you’re not limited in where or how you read the books. (You can even share them with family members — what a concept, right?) The books, provided in EPUB format, can be downloaded individually or all at once. StoryBundle also provides instructions for sending them wirelessly to your Kindle or Kindle app.

I’m in. Though I already have a huge stack of books on my to-read list, I definitely want to support this kind of effort. As I’ve ranted before, e-books are seriously overpriced (regardless of publishers’ math to the contrary), and this sort of bundling looks like a win for everyone involved.

Your thoughts?

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