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Thread: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?


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phildukephd

Posts: 857
Registered: 06/16/11
Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 12, 2012 3:34 AM
 
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People love Freebies. Here is some simple math. If only 1000 Indies each offer one ebook free every week, and each book has only 200 free downloads, in one year that comes to this number of free ebooks out there:
[b]
73,000,000 ebooks being read FREE and not being purchased .[/b]

[b]Yes, that is 73 million ebooks. Yes that is 73 million lost sales.[/b]

No wonder paid sales (and even freebie downloads) are falling hard.

The Freebie program must be hurting PAID sales overall, and in the long run may largely end them. I suggest all Freebies should be eliminated..
megapixpublishing

Posts: 48
Registered: 10/19/10
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 13, 2012 12:13 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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The good doctor ruminates on the general subject of writing, and authorship in particular. From Boswell's 'Life of Johnson'

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

"Johnson was by no means of opinion, that every man of a learned profession should consider it as incumbent upon him, or as necessary to his credit, to appear as an author. When in the ardour of ambition of literary fame, I regretted to him one day that an eminent Judge had nothing of it, and therefore would leave no perpetual monument of himself to posterity. "Alas, Sir, (said Johnson,) what a mass of confusion should we have, if every Bishop, and every Judge, every Lawyer, Physician and Divine, were to write books."

http://www.samueljohnson.com/writing.html

thegotoguy

Posts: 10
Registered: 07/10/08
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 13, 2012 7:50 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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"The Freebie program must be hurting PAID sales overall, and in the long run may largely end them. I suggest all Freebies should be eliminated.. "

This exact same argument was made from the beginning of the Internet. Since so much content is available everywhere for free, why would anyone pay for anything?

But, they do! (Music downloads, for example.)

Amazon isn't getting rich selling Kindles. They cut margins to the bone on them to get them into the hands of as many people as possible so they will...

...purchase content. It's a content consumption device.

If freebies eliminated paid purchases, you wouldn't have to make posts like this on forums - they'd disappear overnight.

One key to long term success for authors is to cultivate a fan base who wants to read what YOU have written (this is often called an author's 'platform'.) Once they value your writing, many will pay a reasonable price to read more. When given the option to wade through a pile of freebies by unknown authors or purchase the latest book from an author they know and love, most people will go with what they know.

"Yes that is 73 million lost sales."

Another way to view that number is 73 million opportunities to connect with a new reader and steer them to your other work. Not all of them would have made a purchase if the free options were gone (some are just digital hoarders.) And, based on my own experiences, at least 250 of those authors are awful and I wouldn't pay 99 cents for one of their books under any circumstance (not to mention that a significant percentage of the remaining authors would be publishing in genres I don't read.)

As the marketplace matures, successful authors will become more strategic with their use of promotional tools like freebies to build an audience and maximize their profits. Hobbyists and other amateurs (meaning those not focused on earning a substantial income from their work) will flood the freebie market with less desirable books hoping that somebody will read what they wrote. There is an opportunity cost involved in searching for gems and many people will choose not to pay it.

Freebies are a marketing tool just like blog tours, press releases, author blogs, Facebook fan pages, paid advertising, and dozens of others. If you use them without a marketing plan, they are a lot of work for very little gain.

Personally,[b] I think that freebies are a bad way to launch a new book[/b]. Better to give away shorter works that lead to a new book or give away backlist titles to stimulate awareness for new releases. For new books, I would be more inclined to run 99 cent introductory specials coupled with a major social media and paid advertising campaigns to stimulate early sales boost sales rankings.

You get to choose your book's price. Some people choose zero. You may not. But, it's your job as a self-published author to convince people that it's worth purchasing - no matter the price.

Andrew Seltz
phildukephd

Posts: 857
Registered: 06/16/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 13, 2012 6:29 PM   in response to: thegotoguy in response to: thegotoguy
 
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Thanks for the post, and a brief reply.

Wickipedia destroyed encyclopedias, ebooks are destroying print books, etc..A great deal is available either very close to free, or essentially free- compare sending your book overseas by email attachment, or by the post office. The free or much cheaper service always drives out the more expensive.

Only Amazon knows the profitability of the Kindles.

Paid purchases ARE being eliminated, look at all the posts about poor paid sales..

Declining paid sales mean declining revenues from paid sales for Amazon.com as well as Indies. Just wait a few more months and see what happens. All marketing plans are valueless when your potential buyer ALREADY has something like what you are selling, so it is no longer wanted..

Hey maybe you can help my failed sales by buying something from the attached list?
megapixpublishing

Posts: 48
Registered: 10/19/10
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 14, 2012 12:36 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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After the Christmas deluge of e-readers onto the market, the novelty of having the 'ability' to download and read ebooks has worn off, and sales seemed to have plunged across the board as the majority of the public go back to their old habits of not reading much of anything, in any form.

To the point that even though they may have an e-reader they're not now even reading freebies, so downloads for them have also fallen off. Or after the hardcore of voracious freebie readers have reached a ceiling, daily downloads fall off rapidly as the 'herd' of vultures move on to feast on new free material.

No question everybody's struggling to understand the dynamics of this new (free & paid) ebook market. And maybe ironically of the millions of free ebooks out there, most of them you couldn't even give away!

Very interesting BBC Click radio discussion April 17, during London Book Fair, interviewing a Random House digtal publisher, an indie e-publisher, Amanda Hocking and digital media gurus on what the future holds for digital & print publishing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/digitalp April 17 : Digital Publishing. Listen online or download the 14MB podcast to record the 25min broadcast

Message was edited by: megapixpublishing
phildukephd

Posts: 857
Registered: 06/16/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 14, 2012 4:41 AM   in response to: megapixpublishing in response to: megapixpublishing
 
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[b]Here's something interesting-[/b] gift an ebook to a friend and then wait for the paid sale to be credited to your account. Post the result here. Hint- unreported paid sales look just like declines in sales.
gcuse03champs

Posts: 78
Registered: 06/20/09
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 14, 2012 9:19 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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Freebies can be of use.

I write short stories no more than 8-10 pages pertaining to my book and offer those for free. I make sure to include a link to the book on Amazon. If people like the short story they buy the book.

It's worked very well for me so far.

George Cook author of The Dead War Story: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006YEKJXO
megapixpublishing

Posts: 48
Registered: 10/19/10
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 14, 2012 11:45 PM   in response to: gcuse03champs in response to: gcuse03champs
 
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Freebies can be of use.

I write short stories no more than 8-10 pages
pertaining to my book and offer those for free. I
make sure to include a link to the book on Amazon. If
people like the short story they buy the book.

It's worked very well for me so far.

George Cook author of The Dead War Story:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006YEKJXO


Try posting yr freebie sample short stories on www.feedbooks.com. with the link back to their Amazon sales page

You literally paste the text in your feedbook webpage and publish. Editing is instant if required.

Full worldwide download geographical stats analysis come free plus the kind of browser & ereader used. The audience is primarily using Android smartphones etc, although from what I see Kindle downloads make up about 2%

Just knowing who's buying what, where and how they're reading it is a education in itself.
serenityvalley

Posts: 103
Registered: 01/10/12
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 15, 2012 5:50 PM   in response to: megapixpublishing in response to: megapixpublishing
 
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Personally I think it's laughable when complaints are posted on free books hurting the market. My busiest "free" day saw 534 books given away, but how many people purchased Kindles that same day? Not only have I possibly added 534 fans to the Gunship series(who may buy the remainder of books), but so many new customers arrive onto the Kindle scene daily.

I realize that there is a large number of self-published authors flooding the market with "free" right now. I get that. However, if you have a good product then you will turn over sales eventually. That is as long as you know how to market them.

This entire argument of "free" or ".99 cent" books are killing the industry is put out there by traditional publishing houses. Ebooks are(or can be) priced so cheaply that there is no money for these companies to grab, and honestly with ebooks there is no longer a need for traditional publishing houses. Suits me fine, they deserve every bit of it.

I have been self-published for a little over a year and finally hit my stride when it comes to marketing my work. I've seen well over a 2,000 percent sales increase in the past several months and KDP has only helped that. Believe in your work, know how to market it to potential readers and you will see success.

http://tinyurl.com/gunshipportal
phildukephd

Posts: 857
Registered: 06/16/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 16, 2012 4:27 AM   in response to: serenityvalley in response to: serenityvalley
 
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I don't laugh, I think it sad when such simple logic is denied. There is NO doubt that [b]when a person is occupied reading a freebie, that person will NOT be reading a paid sale at the same time.[/b]

You are the exception and you are not alone. Freebies have increased paid sales numbers for a small number of Indies[b] temporarily,[/b] but I am concerned about the majority in the longer pull.

It looks to me you have been lucky, or maybe your work is very good, you are very good at marketing, etc. In any case even [b]IF[/b] it lasts for you, [b]the freebies have badly hurt [/b][b]sales for many.[/b] And I expect will hurt sales even more, unless enough newbie.freebie authors give up, and enough experienced Indies realize they are hurting everyone with free downloads. Including themselves. Here is another bit of logic-[b] a person who has your ebook free will NOT buy it.[/b]
[b]
I say get out of the Select program, avoid it like the plague it is. IMO a big mistake by Amazon,com[/b]

Hey maybe you can help my sales by seeing something you like on the attached list, and buying it? [b]That would be nice...[/b][i][/i]
phildukephd

Posts: 857
Registered: 06/16/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 3:42 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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People have posted that their sales have collapsed due to the following:

(1) It's Tax time.
(2) It's Easter
(3) It's Spring

The first two have ended, the last is ending. But sales have NOT improved. The reason is, the Freebie Select program. Never underestimate the power of a Freebie. The ebook market is saturated with them.

As long as [b]dumbo newbies[/b] post "Hey I had more than a thousand downloads in five days. Boy did my sales go up!" It will only get worse.

Free downloads are not sales, they are giveaways, and if your book is not well edited you are only hurting yourself with free downloads.[b] Keep in mind that once a person has your ebook free, they will NOT buy it.[/b]
[b]
IMO the entire Freebie program is a mistake, and should be canceled.[/b]

Hey, maybe you will see something you like on the attached list and buy it, that would be nice...
frustratedovern...

Posts: 926
Registered: 03/08/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 5:02 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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KDP can be quicksand--and clever for Amazon.
.
Note this from the KDP Q&A or (FAC) section of [u]KDP[/u] itself!

"Tell me more about the free book promotion.
You can offer any book enrolled in KDP Select free to readers for up to 5 days at your discretion during each 90-day KDP Select term. "

To me that sounded like only KDP readers would be elegible BUT---

After much stupidity on my part that got me into the free business anyway, I at least thought that from the quote above the damage would limited to KDP Prime readers.

More the fool, ME! When I looked on my Amazon sales page--lo and behold the entire world! can download my book free!!!

That's not what's implied in the quote above! I suppose legally since it doesn't say "KDP READERS" it's ambiguous enough to cover their putting it up for the general public. But how I wish someone who can afford a lawyer would file a class action suit for misrepresentation of the "free" promo against Amazon in our behalf! I'd sure sign on.

My free "sales" just hit 647 with still today to run--Thankfully I stopped the giveaway and am on the verge of unpublishing, never to darken Kindle's door again--at least where it says FREE.

It was my own stupidity that got me into it--I mixed Borrows with the free promotion and thought there would be royalties from the monthly "pot."

Now I find a novel I worked years on is totally free!! Dear Lord help me. It has really upset me. When I first realized what a stupid a** I'd been, I chalked it up to good "exposure" to forgive myself. However when it's heading to 700...That's too much exposure and I'm suffering skin cancer from it.

DON'T GO THERE unless you fully understand that it will become free for every Amazon reader not just KDP--and you will lose any compensation--not even just a thank you!--is galling beyond belief--IMO.

One good thing: it hasn't touched my paperback edition with CS. I'd rather not sell than have given it to the world free! Up to a point such altruism can be written off as promotion--but how many of those free 647 downloads will even get read? An/or appreciated?

Renee
http://reneegoudeau.webs.com (if you want to see a real fool!)
frustratedovern...

Posts: 926
Registered: 03/08/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 11:17 AM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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Dr, here's something you missed as a negative for going free: it just happened to me. Not that I blame the buyer--I would do the same thing in these bad economic times--but apparently one sold book was returned. And then swapped for a free one?

I don't know if that's why it was returned. Doesn't matter. What does is that it can easily happen when you go into your free promo--unless you watch your sales closely enough--and Kindle reports fast enough--for you to know the seven days for returning a purchased book have expired.

Message was edited by: frustratedovernover
phildukephd

Posts: 857
Registered: 06/16/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 1:09 PM   in response to: frustratedovern... in response to: frustratedovern...
 
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Your post is very interesting, timely and valuable. I also do not plan to give away more ebooks in the future on the Select program. For some time I have had the impression that Mr. Bezos is out of contact with KDP. Allowing obvious spite and crazy reviews, excessive return policy, customer dis-service, now the Select program, no meaningful feedback, etc. I have repeatedly emailed him without a reply.

[b] IMO the Select program is a big mistake for all concerned except freebie lovers. [/b]The truth about it will become known over time. Very sad for all those like you and me who want the best for all concerned, including KDP and Amazon.com, I have been with Amazon.com for many years.

[b]PLEASE start a new thread and post this info from [i]your important post[/i] there thank you.[/b]

Best regards,

Phil Duke Ph.D.
frustratedovern...

Posts: 926
Registered: 03/08/11
Re: Why buy the cow when you can get so much milk free?
Posted: Apr 20, 2012 2:46 PM   in response to: phildukephd in response to: phildukephd
 
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Dear Phil--please excuse the familiarity if it bothers you.

I won't accede to your request because I'm really burned out with all this! And I don't really think it will be heeded anyway. But you're welcome to use it and my name if you feel differently.

I decided to stay with the Borrow part of KDP because of math: I had my price at $3.99 and 70% royalty but it wasn't selling atall, atall! So I dropped my price to $1.99 and 35%, so that even two borrows will give me more than I'd get otherwise--assuming that the "pot" share runs at least $1.50.

I wish I could market my paperback. But I simply can't seem to find my audience. I'm seriously considering trying Kirkus review although it's a lot of money--at least for me.

I'd enjoy talking to you but since email addresses are verboton on here...

However, it is on my website--at the bottom of the "about me" page (but I left Facebook).

Renee
http://reneegoudeau.webs.com

Message was edited by: frustratedovernover
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