Digital goods or e-goods are intangible goods that exist in digital form. Examples include this Wikipedia article, webinars, video tutorials, digital media, such as e-books, downloadable music, internet radio, internet television and streaming media; fonts and graphics; digital subscriptions; online ads (as purchased by the advertiser); internet coupons; electronic tickets; online casino tokens; electronically traded financial instruments; downloadable software (Digital Distribution) and mobile apps; cloud-based applications and online games; virtual goods used within the virtual economies of online games and communities; workbooks; worksheets; membership programs; desktop backgrounds or wallpaper; planners; e-learning (online courses); interviews; blog posts; cards; labels; patterns; prints; clipart; stationery; gift tags; website themes; logos; photos; web graphics; templates.
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The most popular digital download goes to the eBook and with good reason. Due to the emergence of devices like the Kindle and Kobo, the popularity of eBooks has skyrocketed. Because of this new era of ebooks, self-published authors are now getting the recognition they deserve. Authors, if they decide to go this route, no longer have to go through the hassle of finding a publisher.
Take a look at these remarkable stats from publishers weekly:
- The Big Five traditional publishers now account for only 16% of the e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists.
- Self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store.
- Indie authors are earning nearly 40% of the e-book dollars going to authors.
- Self-published authors are “dominating traditionally published authors” in sci-fi/fantasy, mystery/thriller and romance genres, and are taking significant market share in all genres.
Self-published books are dominating as they are starting to gather a cult-like following. Many people are tired of seeing the same books published by the same authors and are looking for some variety.
Setting up a site for your ebooks is extremely simple, you get to keep 100% of your profits and 100% of the attention is on you. Nobody has to sort through hundreds of thousands of other titles to eventually land on your book.
70 million. The number of photos, vectors, and illustrations currently being sold on Shutterstock. Not to mention over 750,000 active members in over 150 countries. There were 58 million downloads of Shutterstock images in 2011, which generated $120.3 million in revenue. And that’s just Shutterstock. There’s also Photocrati, SmugMug, Zenfolio, DigiLabs, Shutterfly, Zazzle, iStock.
All this probably sounds pretty good, right? There’s a ton of really big numbers, but the fact is, if you want your images to stand out, they won’t. They become a needle in a haystack and the competition is fierce. You may think your photo is worth a certain amount, but money talks and you’ll need to price your photos competitively in order to stay relevant.
A photo is worth a thousand words. Many times photographers have a compelling story to go along with their photo. Like a merchant selling a product, the description of your photo gives you a chance to really sell someone on it.
Then there’s the fact that these third parties are going to take a major cut of your profit. Not cool. With your own store, you keep ALL of your profits and make sure your photos get the attention they deserve.
iTunes, as we all know, is massive. Like billions-of-dollars-in-revenue-every-year massive. But did you know that iTunes takes 30% of your music sales? Sure, you get exposure on it, but unless your Taylor Swift, chances are you aren’t going to be making a ton of money. The scenario is worse when you look at other services like Spotify.
With your own eCommerce store, you get to keep every single cent of your money every time someone downloads your music. You can create your own custom website, build a worldwide fan following, and distribute music to them right from your site.
You can also sell whatever you want to go with your music including t-shirts, hoodies and more, and bundle them with your music.
4. Videos and Courses
With everything being so readily available and free, it would seem that videos and online courses would be obsolete. Not the case.
Online video and course marketplaces like Udemy have become extremely popular. Udemy shared that it now has more than 8,000 courses being taught to 800,000 students. The problem is, Udemy and other similar websites take 50% of your sales! On top of that, they regularly run discount promotions that further diminish your income.
From healthy living to learning how to code, you name it, people are looking to learn and actually pay for the information!
The problem with selling on third party sites is that it’s hard to stand out. Having your own site will allow you to tell your story and really position yourself as an expert in your field. This will give you a leg up on your competition.
5. Web Elements
If you’re a graphic designer, you’re in luck. People are paying a lot of cash for themes, patterns, brushes, wallpapers, logos, pretty much anything web related you can think of.
Themes are extremely popular. Some of the themes on Theme Forest are being downloaded thousands of times with the price range between 14-30 dollars. There are over 1000 WordPress themes alone. Some other incredible numbers from Theme Forest include:
- Highest selling theme: $200,000 sales to date
- Fastest selling theme of all time: $160,000 in 7 months, and counting
- Highest author earning in a single month: $40,000 (take home earnings)
Then there are sites like Graphic River that sell just about anything you can think of, from social media packs to banners ads to textures. There are over 150,000 vectors alone to choose from. The possibilities of web elements that a graphic designer could sell online are endless.
Digital downloads is a billion dollar industry. Standing out and making real money is possible but it won’t be done selling on third party websites. Sure, there are the lucky few that do end up making some decent coin, but they still have to give up a percent of their earnings.
The best part is, it’s really simple to get started. You don’t need manufacturers, suppliers, packagers, shippers and all the other operational pains that come with physical products. Pick one of the above digital product types, set up your eCommerce store, and start selling!