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All good things seem to come to an end (sooner than crappy things, anyhow.) Kindle doesn't allow small publishers like me to post free books. I thought I'd found a miraculous loophole through which I was able to offer Thaw and Stroke of Midnight for a penny. Sadly, I've had word from Amazon that they will no longer support these two promotional ebooks.

If you have a Kindle--or Kindle software on your computer or iPhone--I'd advise you to grab them now. They're coming down at the end of April.

I'll still leave them up at other sites like 1RomanceEbooks.com, Smashwords, etc., but they won't have that same Kindle click-one-button immediacy.

Stroke of Midnight
Thaw

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
piplover
Apr. 19th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, because of the big stink certain publishers made, Amazon was backed into a corner and everyone is paying for it. *Sigh* Capitalism at it's best or big business bullying?
jordan_c_price
Apr. 19th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Are you referring to the McMillan deal? I don't think this is the same thing exactly, otherwise it would take place 6/30. But I'm sure it has to do with free/cheap ebooks not being profitable in the long run with the delivery costs. (I think if you amortized the electronic delivery costs over the life of the device it'd be fine.)

I actually *like* that they were backed into the corner of not snarfing down 2/3 the cover price of my ebooks like they currently do! ;-)
jordan_c_price
Apr. 19th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Maybe if they allowed a publisher to put up 1 freebie for every 10 paid books or something it would keep them from being overrun by a glut of unedited free crap?
kat_maj
Apr. 20th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
"But I'm sure it has to do with free/cheap ebooks not being profitable in the long run with the delivery costs."

Considering that the cheap ebook theoretically leads to more of your books sold, and therefore more money for Amazon, I dunno... that associates a much nicer motivation than I would have given.

They're Amazon. Surely they could find a way to make free promotional ebooks work if they wanted to. Clearly, for their own reasons, they don't want to.

Offering free promo ebooks on Kindle, something I'd advised every writer I knew to do, is great. I'm glad to see you've actually done it. Did it work for you in getting more sales?

And they get 66% of what you sell?! Yikes. That's really steep.
jordan_c_price
Apr. 20th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
"Considering that the cheap ebook theoretically leads to more of your books sold, and therefore more money for Amazon, I dunno..."

Exactly. There will always be people who just load every single freebie on their device and buy very few things, but chances are, many readers will use freebies to discover new-to-them authors.

I think it's a gatekeeper mentality that is keeping self-published Kindle authors from uploading free stuff. It's not allowed, and there is no good explanation as to why on any of the publisher forums. If you ask why via email you're told it's not their policy to have free ebooks...and yet bigger publishers magically offer free ebooks. Customer service is impossible to navigate. Basically they always seem to cut and paste answers to questions I never asked in reply to my emails.

My 1¢ loophole was via an old Mobipocket account I set up two years ago, before Amazon bought Mobipocket. But they'll shut down those titles in a week or so.

It's difficult to say if freebies have resulted in more sales. I've noticed that offering free things encourages people who have no interest in your genre to download the story, then come back and leave nasty reviews about it. However, I feel free stories are an important component of marketing and I also think of them as a treat for current readers, so I do my best not to let the negativity affect me.

"They're Amazon. Surely they could find a way to make free promotional ebooks work if they wanted to. Clearly, for their own reasons, they don't want to."

You said it better than I ever could!
jordan_c_price
Apr. 20th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, 65% currently. In July that's supposed to change to 30% or 35%, I forget which, but you have to follow certain parameters. Ebooks must be priced between $2.99 and (I think) 9.99 to qualify. I blanked on the upper limit because I wouldn't personally pay more than $7 for an ebook.

But I don't know if that means I can't publish any books under $2.99 to get the good deal, or just that my lower-priced shorts will get the old royalty rate. The wording has been ambiguous from various sources, so I'll wait 'til I see the legalese.
kat_maj
Apr. 21st, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, there are plenty of ebook competitors -- I've never been a fan of Kindle, though I'm happy it's doing a small part to legitimize ebooks for a wider audience. I just don't like the way they "serve" both the readers and the audience.

I, too, would never pay more than $7 for a fiction ebook -- not even if it was a masterpiece. I'm too used to the paperback market, and that's what they all cost. I'm pretty sure most consumers also feel the same way, even though Amazon's trying to repackage the experience with a dedicated device to justify the higher prices.

Blech, I'd find greener pastures if I were a fiction writer selling my own books. I've dealt with them before in their infamous Amazon Associate program, and its notoriously bad support.

Unless, of course, Amazon's really giving you a ton of good leads. In that case, it might be worth it the energy.
jordan_c_price
Apr. 21st, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
I've had a lot of people "discover" me through Amazon's leads so it's partially worth it for that.

Also, while I'm sure it's possible to pirate a Kindle book, it's not as common as a PDF getting redistributed--so I know that a Kindle sale is probably a single Kindle sale, and not a sale to a reader and 600 of her closest internet friends. That helps me bear the price gouging. That's what I tell myself, anyway :-/
jordan_c_price
Apr. 21st, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, I can't seem to reply to you sufficiently in one pass :D

Yeah, support is dismal. I have to ask everything three times before I get an answer because whoever is replying to me does not comprehend my question, no matter how simple I try to make it. Then I fill out the feedback form that says, "NO, you did NOT answer my question!"

I publish paperbacks through CreateSpace (Amazon) and LightningSource (not Amazon) and am starting to lean toward LightningSource even though it's way more complicated and expensive simply because their customer service doesn't repeatedly answer questions I never asked.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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