I’ve been using Payloadz to sell digital PDF files for a while now. It’s a great way for me to charge a few dollars for a digital document. Users pay me with Paypal, then they get a url good for 48 hours, and from there they can download the files. It’s done automatically. In my case I’m selling hyperlinked PDF versions of my books for $3.50. The alternative to Payloadz is to send a file out by hand for each purchase, which would be insane.
It’s not hard for the unscrupulous to cheat a bit (very few do) yet Payloadz removes the temptation of completely unregulated free downloads. I experienced a burp or two setting up the files the first time, but since then the system is pretty invisible. Customers download the books anytime, and the money flows into my Paypal account. I do nothing. Yet when all is accounted for my total profit from a digital file is equal to the total profit from selling the equivalent paper book — with about 1/100th the trouble.
Payloadz can be used to deliver any digital good — software, ebooks, movies, ringtones, or CDs worth of material. Biggest downside is their monthly fee ($15 minimum), in addition to the usual modest Paypal charge per transaction. You’ll need some brisk traffic to keep it going. Payloadz has a completely free version, but since your files are unprotected in that version (not on the paid) I don’t see any advantage to it.
I’d be crazy to call for the end of paper publishing (been there, done that wrong) but I have no hesitation in heralding the dawn of digital publishing. I think digital downloads FOR PAY will be a viable part of the gift economy. So far Payloadz has been an essential tool in exploring this new publishing model. I recommend the service to anyone selling intangibles.
[UPDATE: While other digital payment sites such as E-Junkie get good reviews, I continue to use PayLoadz because they have the best pricing for a very small number of sales, and since I only sell a trickle of stuff, I am still using it. -- KK]