On the O'Reilly Tools of Change blog, they had an interesting post entitled, "Expectations of Fair Pricing, Not Free."
I'll be honest and say I have struggled with this one. It's probably because my heart tugs between helping ministries and running a business. I work for a non-profit ministry. I have to keep reminding myself that doesn't mean we aim to operate in the red. We have to make money in order to pay our bills and do some great things with the leftover cash.
About twelve years ago, I began my web site. I am a cartoonist as well as an illustrator. I intended to display my cartoons on a weekly basis. Most of them were about church life and Christian ministries. Soon, I heard from places like South Africa and Singapore. Churches around the world wanted to put my cartoons in their bulletins. I was happy to allow them to do that for free.
I even got business from the cartoons. I was very thankful for it. But today, I haven't updated the cartoon end of my site. In fact, I don't have a direct link from my main web site. It got old giving away the store. Yet, I still get email's from churches that have found the cartoons via an outside link. It's still popular in spite of me not promoting it.
I feel torn. I don't want to get rich off of the cartoons, though I wouldn't object if they paid their own way.
I'm debating whether I should ask future inquiries to pay up to two dollars in order to get a print quality version of the cartoon. If I did that, then perhaps it would be worth producing out some more cartoons. On the other hand, would churches pay for something they've been used to getting free? Would $2 really break the bank?
It's enough to make this poor artist ponder.