Speaking of digital, which we were, and of those — and there are many — who think giving 30 percent of most everything to mega-middleman Apple is not a good thing, Warren Ellis points us towards the Not .99 Method whereby you can sell comics for devices at any price you wish and not share a penny with ANY middleman.

This friendly 3-step method highlights uses common free online services (PayPal, Gmail & Google Docs) but feel free to make your own substitutions based on personal preference, terms of service and transaction cost.


Many established online banks now offer a free “pay-by-SMS” service. I prefer (love, actually) PayPal’s version.

A) Open a PayPal account and associate it with your phone number and email address.
B) Set a unique price for each product you wish to sell (Example: $ 0.33) (Not .99!)
C) Create a “point of sale” using your unique price. This can as simple or complex as your marketing strategy requires.

The step-by-step goes on from there — it’s a bit wonky as a workaround, but nothing most of us couldn’t master in an hour or so. The sizable DIY community should pick up on this very quickly.


  1. Ok, maybe I’m just a bit dense, but it seems to me like this is a manufactured hysteria in search of a non-existent crisis. All of those ridiculous steps to sell your PDF? Um, how about this: put a link on your website/blog/Facebook that says “click here to pay me 30 cents via PayPal and I’ll send you a PDF of my comic”?

    I mean, seriously. The author makes it sound like Apple is some government censor/evil monopoly that somehow FORCES you by law to ONLY sell through them, and SCREWS you by taking its 30% cut. First of all, the 30% cut for Apple is because of the convenience, ubiquotousness, and popularity of their marketplace. They expose your product to hundreds of millions of customers worldwide, in one central location. That’s not worth a 30% cut? Fine, nobody says you have to go through them. Sell it on your own site for whatever price you want (or, you know, FREE) and more power to you.

    Am I missing the point here? Why is this even an issue?

  2. The author is trying to explain the details of how to set up a streamlined system for selling and distributing direct to the customer. It’s intended to simplify it in the long run by doing some work up-front.

    As for why it’s an “issue”, while Apple provides a very handy distribution service that works great if they accept your work, if you happen to create comics that don’t fit their content restrictions, they’re simply not an option. And not everyone knows how else to do it, hence the step-by-step. No need to be snarky about it just because you don’t need the help.

  3. The author’s method makes the whole thing automatic. You could be off spending your not-ninety-nine-cents in the Bahamas, and the system would still automatically take payments and send digital files to the buyers. It’s a little wonky, but pretty neat anyway.

    Setting the thing up on GMail was the really clever thing IMHO – you don’t have to see the orders, you don’t have to see the emails, it all just rolls right along because your GMail account is applying message filters and sending responses all on its own.

  4. Forget that noise. Here’s a MUCH better way to sell digital comics, even a way to make MORE from your paypal sales http://bit.ly/sellcomics

    Hope that helps. I do like the idea of people paying through mobile, BUT let’s face it, not many people are going to know how to set all that up and asking readers to jump through more hoops than just entering their paypal or credit card isn’t a good idea.

  5. D) Paypal is not regulated in any way and if they decide that your account has had irregular activity and close your account. Well best of luck getting the money in less than six months or maybe ever.

  6. True, paypal isn’t FDIC insured… That’s a false assertion that they will lock up your money without access to it. The only problem you’d have is if someone reports a sale as a scam or files a trouble ticket requesting a refund and there’s a whole built in process for dealing with those issues. Paypal will put a “hold” on funds if you’re caught doing a lottery type scam or something that breaks their terms of service, but even then it’s just a temporary hold so they can look into the floods of the reports against you…. Paypal wants you to keep making sales though because that how they make money, it is very very rare to have your funds held– personally I’ve had more trouble with my local bank holding out of state checks!

    Millions of people use paypal everyday through eBay and other online services and do very well. One never heard of a creator or publisher being screwed out of their money.