Rethinking Media E-Commerce & WordPress

WordPress Media Commerce

WordPress Media Commerce

The latest version of SELL MEDIA plugin is now available. Download here.

I have a real problem with the options available to creative professionals who are looking to sell their work online.  The options are expensive, confusing and typically don’t integrate well into WordPress. There are impressive hosted e-commerce solutions, but many tend to be overly complex and time consuming to setup.

We are changing all that, but we need your help.

We’ve released a new plugin that will turn any image, pdf, video, mp3 or document into a product that your users can download.  If you can upload it into WordPress, you can sell it.  You are able to:

  • Sell photos, videos and pdf’s online (download & reprints)
  • Run your own stock agency
  • Keep 100% of all sales
  • Log into one website to manage your portfolio, blog and online storefront

Best of all, it will be free. Free as in the wind.

As I mentioned above, we need your help. Please use the comments below to answer the following questions:

What are your frustrations or desires with your current e-commerce options for selling photos, videos or pdfs online?

Please post/vent/curse/convulse/spew in the comments below.  We are all ears.

56 responses to “Rethinking Media E-Commerce & WordPress”

  1. Nickey Khem Avatar
    Nickey Khem

    Can’t wait for your plugin – would love to beta for you! I would love to see auto resizing for tiffs implemented into the plugin (maybe I can help?)

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      Thanks for the feedback Nickey. You can sign up to be a beta tester in the form above.

  2. HawaiiWP Avatar

    Wow, thanks! Just what i as looking for in one of my projects!!!

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      Great! If you have any specific requirements, please let us know!

  3. Paul Avatar

    This is a great idea and i’m super excited! I use Photoshelter and its fantastic in conjunction with Modularity over at http://www.outdoorphotography.co.nz BUT its expensive, clunky and i’m locked in. 

    The thing is though guys, disk storage. Great to have a plugin but photographers file sizes are massive. If you could integrate into a free online media provider such as Flickr…..then bam.Anyway, i’ve added my interest as a tester. If you want some extra hands to help i’m happy to get on board too.Cheers!

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      Great feedback Paul.  We’re building an extension for the plugin that will allow users to backup and store files on Amazon S3, which is a highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, and inexpensive static file storage  service.

  4. Rachel Anne Seymour Avatar
    Rachel Anne Seymour

    An option to sell subscriptions or groups or work as well as individual pieces of work is hard to find and the few options that are available are poorly designed (visually and functionally) as you mentioned. It would be great to see a more user friendly option for selling multiple pieces of work on top of single pieces. Look forward to seeing your end product!

    1. Rachel Anne Seymour Avatar
      Rachel Anne Seymour

      *groups of work

    2. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      Long time no speak Rachel!  Would the subscriptions function similar to how, say, photos.com operates?  I’m assuming the subscription would a be time-based access to all downloads?

      1. Rachel Anne Seymour Avatar
        Rachel Anne Seymour

        Yea I know! Photos.com’s options are a good example, and yes, time-based subscriptions would be ideal. Paul has already mentioned the issues with file size and storage, but it looks like you guys are looking into options for that as well. 
        Anyway, it seems like everyone is excited to see the out come on this idea. GPP is turning so many head that my non-visual friends are starting to talk about it. Keep up the good work!

  5. Paul Pratt Avatar
    Paul Pratt

    Great idea. I used to use Photoshelter but the integration is a pain plus they really limit the customization of your galleries. Then there was hope in Proof Press which turned out to be vapor ware so I’m very excited to see what you guys can bring to the market. It is so badly needed. ShootQ have done it with Nimbus but it costs far too much money every month.

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      We’re leveraging as many core WordPress features as possible to keep the codebase small, lightweight and therefore easy to use.  This will allow the plugin to evolve as WordPress evolves. We are aiming for simplicity and ease of use. Some users who require hundreds of options might be disappointed. We’re fine with that. We need to identify 80% of the features that users deem mandatory and forget the 20% that makes the code bloated, cumbersome and overly complex.

  6. Andres Alonso Avatar
    Andres Alonso

    You said it!
    Keep 100% of all sales-  GOODLog into one website to manage your portfolio, blog and online storefront – BEST

  7. Johnkentprojects Avatar

    Thanks in advance to the gap team for taking this on – I have used photo shelter in the past, it was a bit expensive for me. I have been using gravity forms to collect $ via paypal.  It works just fine but it would be nice for my clients to just add an image to a cart and then to continue shopping fro more prints then check out in the end. It would be nice to have cropping tools, options for B&W or Sepia prints as well as color. It would be nice to be able to offer discount codes, customizable tax fields. Send a receipt to the customer as soon as they order the print. Digital downloads would be nice. A relationship with a great photo lab would be key as well, a lab with a proven track record with customer service and great prints.
    The ability to batch upload and to assign pricing to a group or individual images or other media.These are a few thoughts, I have more – I look forward to beta testingJohn

    1. Johnkentprojects Avatar

      Sorry about the typo I meant gpp not gap – cheers

  8. Vincent Rosenblatt Avatar

    Well, I don’t know if it’s the right move to try to re-invent photoshelter or other huge digital asset  management systems – but what I’d really would like to see is a very easy to set up and fancy, precious looking plugin to sell fine-art prints, to set an on line Gallery. A feature request would be to show the number of prints still available, etc. I am very curious of what you are preparing. 
    Selling prints in a kind of limited / artesan way is very different of building a search engine for massive archives, for digital / editorial use….   Thanks !

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      We’re certainly not trying to reinvent PhotoShelter. They are our friends and their platform is very robust. But we do see a need for a solution built inside WordPress that simplifies media e-commerce by integrating it the platform

  9. Tatu Blomqvist Avatar

    Hi! I’m interested and I could work in both roles if you need more hands. I signed as a beta tester already. In the actual e-commerce plugin I’d like to see the ability to have different options and prices for buying the work for different purposes. I know it makes things a bit more complicated, but it’s very, very important as that’s what photographers sell: rights to use their images. So, I’d like to see a dropdown or a bulleted menu with options like, say, Getty Images has (one-time use, print, print + digital etc.) and that would still be very simple.

    I’d also like to have the ability to use some cloud storage or other online storage (Wuala, Dropbox, Amazon S3, whatever) to host the actual files, as at least my wordpress site does to have the capacity to hold all the files. Selling multimedia and other video would make it even more difficult without robust storage.

    One thing I loved when I worked as a newspaper photo editor was the ability to check multiple photos from the agency’s site and then buy them all at once and batch download the files. That’s pretty basic, so maybe you already have that in mind, but just to make sure 🙂

    Thanks guys! I’m already excited and I bet this will make a huge difference as other options have been too expensive or complicated.

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      The plugin will (actually it already does) )allow you to create new “License Types”. For example, you could create on LIcense Type Group called “Commercial” and create individual License Types/Prices for “Web, Print, or TV”. Another License Type Group might be “Editorial” and contain similar License Types but have different Prices associated with them.

      The plugin will integrate with Amazon S3 (already does).

      Batch download would be a nice addition.

  10. Andrew Avatar

    Hi, it would be great to help. i can learn from it and recommend to my future clients.

  11. Reto Avatar

    protecting images from theft is unfortunately also to consider. I see 2 possible solutions, that are more or less convenient:
    – upload (high-res) photo, the plug-in automatically creates a preview of the photo for web-display and attaches a watermark. to please all users, make the watermark optional (watermark yes,no) and give the possibility to chose a custom text and maybe even a placement option (center, right corner, etc)
    – upload 2 photos: (high-res) photo and preview photo, prepared with watermark


    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      Watermarking will be core functionality.

      1. Vincent Rosenblatt Avatar

        This Watermarking itself could become a GPP function or plugin, as your theme are really made for image people. This would save us the watermarking in other workflows… Also some anti-theft as Photocrati does core for its themes. 

  12. Reto Avatar

    Collections/Sets would be nice

    a photo can be attached to a collection/set.
    so a visitor could for example buy either 3 single photos from an event or decide to buy all of them at once easily.

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      That will be core functionality.

  13. Yemoonyah Avatar

    This sounds great! I create e-commerce sites for artists and other creative entrepreneurs, so this is more than interesting to me. What I would like to see is that you guys make sure this is also geared towards international customers, not just U.S. based artists.

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      The plugin will support international customers for digital downloads in Version 1.0. Supporting international reprints that require printing and shipping is on the roadmap but we still have a lot to think through.

  14. Nancy Avatar

    I am a paint on canvas artist – the ideas you present for selling download works is something to think about.  PDF’s of “how-to’s” could be profitable.  I appreciate the opportunity to learn and try this new thing!

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      A BETA version of the new SELL MEDIA plugin is now available. Download here.

  15. Scott Indermaur Avatar

    I have a short documentary film that I’d love to sell the digital file (via download – 1.5gb file) in addition to the DVD (already for sale via paypal shopping cart). Among other things, like print sales. This is very exciting! I haven’t found a way to offer that digital file yet. my main GPP site is integrated into Photoshelter, http://www.siphotography.com . Though my http://www.revealedproject.com site is not and to have the shopping cart all within that site is a huge bonus, vs. forwarding it to my http://www.siphotography.com site to purchase prints or have a second PS account (which I don’t want to do).

  16. Dennis Avatar

    I sell audio samples as digital downloads and have been looking for a less bloated wordpress ecommerce solution. Really interested in seeing what you come up with!

  17. Louis Dallara Avatar

    Sounds very Interesting, I signed up.

  18. Guest Avatar

    VERY interesting. I was about to move my work to PhotoShelter when I saw this in your Twitter feed. Wish I knew more about it now but I guess I’ll have to wait. Will definitely be sharing with my peers in the industry though as this topic has come up more than you can imagine!

  19. Francesco Avatar

    Interesting. I am about to re-do my site and coming back to your templates, and this has always been my biggest issue so far!

  20. Andeye Avatar

    I’m using Photoshelter with GPP – the two biggest things that annoy me are how complex it is to sell images if you’re not in a Paypal currency zone (there’s no way for the users to add to cart and then pay by cash/cheque/bank transfer) and how difficult it is to integrate well with facebook (I want easily creatable links that take you straight to a full page image safely hosted on my site – not uploaded to facebook)

  21. Dcmakk Avatar

    This sounds very interesting. I am using GPP in conjuction with photodeck. I was using another e-commerce solution but it was to complicated for my customers.  

  22. Lisa League Avatar
    Lisa League

    My ideal WP theme would be responsive ecommerce with video at the top in place of the slider AND support for sales of digital OR physical goods.  I really like that GPP is going modular with all the functions allowing me to customize my theme.

  23. Abe Green Avatar
    Abe Green

    I want to also sell my physical prints and be able to mail them using PayPal, hopefully your new plug-in will also address artwork that I could sell using one of your themes? 

  24.  Avatar

    im not artist, but i like very! i have a website where we sell an e-book (http://supersarado.com.br), so we used de gpp because is very beautiful and useful… no one theme for wp is like that!

    so, about the e-commerce, the most problems are…
    – integrate a payment format (its very important a PayPal)
    – a plugin for newsletter (whith queue, because many server limited the number of messages per hour or day)
    – a subscribe fast and EASY

    3 single steps to purchase is the best choice
    subscribe, payment, aprove.

    thats my experience in many years of e-commerce…

    and im brazilian, anda im not speek english =)

  25. Thomas Avatar

    It sounds great!
    I hope it will be possible to sell physical items as well.

  26. Jodi@ace-of-Spaces Avatar

    I think this is FANTASTIC! I have been struggling with this very issue and I am VERY excited to start using this plug in when rolled out!

  27. Mikey Leung Avatar

    Hi guys, 

    Just found this thanks to Google. I’m in the midst of working on the same problem for a client of mine and have found your Photoshelter integration to be useful, but would rather be concerned with running my own stock agency. We also have some serious HD Video requirements, so the Amazon S3 integration is a great run for me. For other people considering serious HD video, consider zencoder.com for the encoding requirements, given that you need different sized videos for different browsers. 

    Also, the big minus against photoshelter is that they only serve photos! So, we’d rather have an all-in-one solution. 

    I’m tasked with building this for a client so I have some development funds to pay for features if you guys are building this out. I’d be happy for these features to be released to the community as well. 

    Hope to hear from you! 

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      We’d love to hear the exact specs of your project. Please itemize them here and we’ll do our best!

      1. Mikey Leung Avatar

        I wrote an e-mail to you (via your contact form) explaining a few more of my details.. did you get it? 

      2. Mikey Leung Avatar

        Hey Thad,

        Perhaps my e-mail didn’t get through successfully. 
        So here’s what I’m after:

        1) I have a client and several mates who’d like to have their own stock photography and video sites. 
        2) While my client has some budget to play with, it’s still a social enterprise, and so what we need to create is ‘minimum viable product’ — a point at which the income that the site generates will hopefully pay for itself. 
        3) My photographer mates don’t have much to spend on this but they’re really curious to see what I come up with.
        4) My client has a big fat stock library of photos, short video clips and finished documentaries. The photos and short clips are what we’re hoping will get picked up by his clients or his client networks. 

        After investigating the best open source solutions I could find, I’ve landed here at your site. While I’m happy to use photoshelter (heaps of functionality) the minimum viable product we’re after doesn’t need all the functions of photoshelter and I would personally prefer to invest our time in energy in our own solution (although photoshelter is attractive). We need to sell photos easily, and handle different licensing of those photos for different purposes. Printing is a bonus, but not a bad one either. 

        I have read reviews here: 

        and here:

        They’ve written at length about using your themes and Photoshelter. It looks like there’s still some kinks to be worked out, but overall you can see that people are interested in this. 

        From my end of things, we’re still missing the video piece, so I did my own investigations and came up with this solution: 
        1) Transcode my client’s videos through zencoder.com and upload them to Amazon S3 directly. Have the mobile versions prepared automatically for all platforms. 
        2) Consider using Fetchapp.com to handle the payment gateway requirements (they already work with shopify.com). I have a plugin developer I am working with who can probably help with the heavy lifting here, plus the Fetch guys are also looking for a WordPress plugin and will help support development if they can.  
        3) Integrate all of that back into the Graph Paper Press theme. 

        So.. if you’ve already progressed your plugin, great, I’m keen to give it a go. But if I don’t hear back from you I’ve got to make a recommendation to my client as to how to proceed within the next 24 hours or so, as we’ve got to build out this site as soon as possible. 

        And that means if you’re interested in collaborating then we need to speak further so I can create something that will work for your community as well. I have no qualms open-sourcing whatever I create, however cooperating earlier is better than retracing our development backwards later!  

        I’ve got some funds to play with to move this along, but really need some collaboration to make it happen! 

        Feel free to e-mail me at mikey [at] digitalstoryteller.me if you want to discuss further. 


  28. Graph Paper Press Avatar

    Hey all,
    A status update on the plugin development: We are working on the Transaction/Paypal integration part of the plugin this week and hope to have that wrapped up by the end of the week (April 6). When we have that completed, we’ll be very close to releasing a beta.

  29. Mikey Leung Avatar

    Hey Thad, have you got an update for us on this? Just wondering about progress. Cheers!

  30. Mslabelle Avatar

    Hello. I’m wondering if this has been done? I’m wondering about getting a Graph Paper Press website but very much a newbie with all this stuff. The key bits for me would be client proofing and a very simple payment front. Sorry, I dunno loads of technical terms 🙂 But would be great to know if you’ve fixed this into any theme and if so what theme has this feature? Many thanks.

    1. Graph Paper Press Avatar

      Hi Mslabelle,

      We are getting closer to releasing this plugin. It has taken longer to develop than originally planned. BUT, it’s going to be worth it. It integrates nicely into WordPress’ existing Media/Image features. That said, client proofing is something you can do already in WordPress by just Password Protecting a page with a Gallery posted in it.

  31. Kris Avatar

    Hello, what’s happening with this plug-in? I’m very interested in selling audio mp3 files from my WordPress.org site, and am flummoxed by all of what’s out there. Though I’ve managed to make my sites pretty on my own, I’m not interested in having to learn a bunch of new code in order to make my downloads work. Where are you with this? I’ve signed up to hopefully be a beta tester. Thanks!

  32. Gab Labelle Avatar

    This is exactly what I am looking for! Is it out yet? 😉

  33. gabstero Avatar

    Thad – any news on this plugin’s status! thanks!

  34. Graph Paper Press Avatar

    A BETA version of the new SELL MEDIA plugin is now available: https://graphpaperpress.com/plugins/sell-media/

  35. mpg Avatar

    I would like to see a simple mp3 upload and crop audio for a 10 sec playback to sample songs.

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