Ever since we noted last night that Amazon.com will divide the Kindle bestseller lists into free and paid categories, readers have been debating the policy–and the merits of free eBooks.
Reader Laura Curtis raised some logistical questions: “This seems like a great idea but difficult to accomplish. What about those books that are free for one day? Does that disqualify them for the week? Or do they have to be free when the tally is done? Free for more than half the time?”
Bear Mountain Books had this thought: “Readers have been requesting this for a long time over on the Amazon forum. Personally, I just use the Kindle Genre lists, which tends to shorten the ‘freebies’ and still lets me shop new releases or popular titles in, say, Fantasy. The trouble is, of course, the free titles do get attention and this can lead to an author’s other works selling well. Once the lists are separated, the concern seems to be: Will publishers bother to list some books for free?”
Here is an update from Deborah Smith on how free Kindle books helped BelleBooks: “Since December we have continued to put selected titles on Amazon Kindle for free, and the results continue to be very significant upturns in sales both on the promoted titles and related backlist. Our YA fantasy author, Parker Blue, got such a boost for her “Demon Underground” series with a March giveaway of the series’ first title that the series continues to hang in the top tiers of its category niches. Humor/advice author Haywood Smith’s TWELVE SACRED TRADITIONS OF MAGNIFICENT MOTHERHOOD only recently dropped out of the high numbers in both print and ebook sales, after a promotion phase in early April.
She continued: “All other titles we’ve promoted have scored lots of great reviews and sales, and have stayed in the top ranks long after the promo ended. Currently our women’s fiction novel, TENDER GRACES, (Kat Magendie) is in the top 5; we’ll see how that success plays out over the next two months of increased sales; side benefits of the promotions (beside our author Gayle Trent getting picked up by Pocket Books, as reported in Galley Cat) now include a lucrative foreign rights sale, mentions of our books in major media, and established agents sending us proposals.
Smith concluded “Giving away a few books on Kindle has given us results we could NEVER have afforded via traditional publicity. We’re total advocates for the program and will continue offering titles for free each month.” jump…