As Kindle authors, are we capable of buying multiple copies (files) of our own books to use as gifts to friends? Using the Download via Computer option, we can get the book file and then email it to our family and friends. However, when I tried to make a second purchase of my latest novel, it said I had already purchased it and then it proceeded to offer another download.
If we cannot buy multiple copies, then we are forced to pirate our own copies and send them to friends. I thought we were trying to avoid that practice, notwithstanding the DRM conflict.
Ann, thank you for those thoughts. I actually know HOW to accomplish those things, and the definition of piracy, which of course would not apply to the author, but WOULD be enhanced by awareness of simply emailing a book file to someone else.
If you give it another moment, can you think of perhaps another reason why an author would want to buy his or her own books with a 70 percent royalty, especially if the price is 2.99?
1) You get a sales rank right out of the gate. Who wants to buy a book that no one else has touched? Not even the author or their mother!
2) If you purchase it with another bestseller in your genre, you will most likely get a free Amazon module on your Kindle page which reads:
"Customers who purchased this item, also purchased..." and for a while, this module will display the bestseller you purchased. By a while, I mean a few months.
Not only will this take up much of that dead white space on your page, much more quickly than hoping a customer buys it right out of the gate...
...but you might end up getting featured on that other book's page, which you bought at the same time as your edition. That book will also have a "Customers who purchased this item, also purchased..." module. You might live on that page for a few months too. Not a bad marketing opportunity.
3) How will you ever know for sure if there isn't some really small, but important error, if you never even see the book the way customers see it? Amazon does another stage of markup between the Kindle preview and the actual product. You can scan the boards for more info on that.
So I guess another question might be, why wouldn't you invest $1 or $2 in your own reputation, finished product, and financial future?
Doc, I think not. I use the Transfer by Computer option, since I live in New Zealand, and we do not yet have the WhisperNet available. Once the file is in my Kindle library folder, I can email it to someone else and it works fine on their Kindle. At least so far.
As to the reason for buying, you've addressed it quite well. Investing a net .90 per copy is cheap marketing actually. My latest release was listed at 214,xxx and with ONE purchased, jumped to 24,xxx. Spending $50 or so per month, net (after royalties returned) to achieve a top 2 or 300, is well worth the cost. Everyone wins, including Amazon who receives their cut.
It is historically demonstrated that traditional publishing houses use the same mechanism to have their agents around the states buy copies of a new release so that it rises quickly, perhaps even attaining NYTBR status.
But, alas, I can find no way to buy multiple copies of my own Kindle book.
(2) But, rather, perhaps we should all get behind a letter campaign requesting the ability to gift ebooks. Right now it looks like you can send non-ebooks as gifts, and of course you can send gift certificates to others that (most likely) can be used on ebook purchases, so why no direct option to send an ebook as a gift?
(3) And the ability to send an ebook as a gift doesn't really have to be a loss option to the writer, either, in that you could do "book groups" -- i.e., users sign up for your special circle of readers for $X and they give you their email address, and you commit to giving them specific titles upon release (cheaper than they'd pay for them on Amazon). You then gift the book via the (not yet in existence) e-book gifting option.
So, let's say you are retailing a title on Amazon for 3.99. You tell your special circle readers they can get the title for 2.99 (which is part of their membership fee they've ALREADY paid you). You get the jump in ratings from having, e.g., 50 dedicated readers, and you still make a profit because you've gotten 2.99 from them, your cost from buying at amazon and gifting to them was less than $1.30, so your royalties after discounting the 3.99 book for your "club" are $1.69 (although it definitely complicates your tax accounting and takes time to manage the club).
It could conceivably go against Amazon's pricing policy, but the books are still being bought from Amazon, so I'm not sure how they could win on that argument (although they don't need to "win" - they've got discretion to treat it as they see it).
@digital pulse -- ah, I'm crushed....aren't there other things we agree on?
I'd add that another reason for petitioning amazon for the ability to gift specific ebooks is that it might, at least with the lower priced ebooks, promote buying over piracy. You bought, you liked, you think your friend would like, but all you can do is either (1) share illegally (legally if they are hooked to your account, and that is only generally going to be family members) (2) buy a gift certificate that they can use on something other than what you wanted to share specifically with them.
And it would promote ebook sales in general, even when you haven't already read the book yourself. Nowadays, you see a physical copy of a book you know a friend would like, you buy it as a gift, because it is so much more personal than buying them a $10 GC to the bookstore. Right now, Amazon isn't letting its customers do that for one another.
At this point, I'm fairly confident we agree on many things. But I have noticed, in your posts, an acumen for the Amazon website and marketing methods... and a willingness to use them.... that not everyone is able to display. ;0)
I stand neutral on gifting books. I agree with many of the arguments for doing it, but I just can't seem to put it high on my list of priorities.
There are times when it sounds completely appropriate. I'm not sure I fit into any of those situations, but this platform needs to work for a wide variety of publishers, and it seems that there should be a way to allow publishers to give promotional copies of their ebooks to a select group of customers without disrupting Amazon's cash avalanche from Kindle.
[i]but you might end up getting featured on that other book's page[/i]
Very, very unlikely. Indeed, I'm tempted to say impossible. If 800,000 people buy the latest Stephen King thrilla, and one person buys your opus plus Mr. King's, it would be a very poor algorithm that put you on Mr. King's page.
Though he will certainly be on yours, which I suppose is a compliment of sorts.
Be skeptical if you wish. I have seen it happen with my own books.
You might not end up on Stephen King's page, because major publishers pay Amazon for specific books to be linked with other books.
But not everyone is Stephen King, and there are fortunately lots of books by little known writers that are selling very well in their genre... which the persistent publisher can track, just using the category ranking tools which Amazon provides.
They can also use these "best" selling books to create Listmania lists, which also feature your books, and increase visibility.