Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) just launched a new Kindle Countdown Deal tool for book promotions. You can learn more about it in this post.
The Kindle Countdown Deal appears to be tailor-made for Read Tuesday—a Black Friday type of event just for books.
Authors don’t have to discount their books via Kindle to participate. Alternatives include a CreateSpace or Smashwords discount code, direct sales through a website or PayPal, or temporary price changes with publishing services where this doesn’t pose any significant problems.
However, many of the books that have signed up will be discounted on Kindle. The new Kindle Countdown Deal tool may be well-suited for these books.
First, let me address the exclusivity issue. There are some important points to consider for authors who may be returning to KDP Select, which I’ll address later on. At the end of the post, I’ll explain why this is important now, even though Read Tuesday isn’t until December 10.
Note that there is a catch: Only books enrolled in KDP Select are eligible for the Kindle Countdown Deal.
- If your book is already enrolled in KDP Select and you plan to continue your enrollment, this is a non-issue.
- If you sell a significant percentage of books through other sales channels—Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, Apple, Sony, etc.—then you probably don’t want to switch over to KDP Select. That’s okay, since you can still do a temporary list price change as you were planning to do all along.
- If your book is on sale at other sales channels, but the vast majority of your sales come through Kindle, the new Kindle Countdown Deal tool may tempt you to switch back. I’ll return to this point later in my post, as there are a couple of important points to consider.
- If you have a new book coming out, you’re faced with a difficult decision. You need to predict whether the Kindle Countdown Deal will be a better asset than increased exposure through other outlets like Nook, Apple, and Sony. It’s a tough call. Some authors enjoy much success with those retailers, while others sell primarily through Kindle. The only way to be sure is to try it out.
Another important point is that your regular list price must be at least $2.99 (or 1.99 pounds) in order to participate in a Countdown Deal.
The Kindle Countdown Deal is better than merely lowering your price for a couple of different reasons:
- When you initiate a Countdown Deal, your book’s price shows as a discount off the usual list price. When you simply change your list price, it doesn’t look like a sale. If you’re promoting your sale effectively, this may not matter much to the people who hear about your sale; but all the people who discover your book while the sales rank is spiking don’t know it’s on sale.
- Your book will show when the sale is ending when you do a Countdown. Compared to a temporary price change, this provides a sense of urgency. This improves the chances that a customer will buy your book during the promotion.
- There is a chance (but no guarantee) that Amazon will highlight your book’s participation in the Kindle Countdown Deals.
Why should you be worried about this now? Read Tuesday isn’t until December 10.
- Your book must be enrolled in KDP Select for 30 days before it will be eligible for a Countdown Deal. So if your book isn’t enrolled in KDP Select presently, you need to switch over soon if you wish to schedule a Countdown Deal for Read Tuesday. (Remember, you can simply lower your price on that day if a Countdown Deal doesn’t work for you.)
- You must also wait 30 days after making any changes to your list price before scheduling a Countdown Deal. If you plan on changing your list price, you want to do this at least 30 days prior to Read Tuesday if you plan on using a Countdown Deal for your Read Tuesday pricing.
- If you’re switching over to KDP Select, you must first disable all of your other e-book sales channels (you don’t need to disable any print options). As mentioned earlier, this may or may not be beneficial; it depends how much you sell through the other sales channels. It takes time for your e-book to be removed from other sales channels, depending on where you publish. If you use an aggregator like Smashwords, there can be significant delays. You can do a search and read about other authors’ experiences with this. Switching over might not be a quick process, and if not, you might want to factor this into your decision to switch, too. (Remember, you can always just do a temporary list price reduction in order to participate on Read Tuesday. You don’t have to use a Countdown Deal for it.)
- You can’t schedule a Countdown Deal during the last 14 days of your KDP Select enrollment period. However, there may be an exception if you renew your enrollment. You’ll want to see if this is an issue now instead of learning about it at the last minute.
- If you’ve already used a free promo day in your current KDP Select enrollment period, you won’t be able to schedule a Countdown Deal until your next enrollment period. This is something you’ll want to check on now rather than find out later.
Since you might not be able to schedule a Countdown Deal on Read Tuesday for one of the reasons listed above, if you’re considering using this promotional tool for Read Tuesday, now is the best time to find out what your options are.
Chris McMullen, Coordinator of Read Tuesday