Yesterday a reader tipped me to the launch of LitFlash, a new service from PRH which, from what I can see from the outside, is some type of black-box clone of BookBub which will serve up recommendations for Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and other ebook retailers.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you more. I've just signed up for LitFlash, but I am still waiting for an email. According to the about page:
LitFlash is a free daily email that provides you recommendations of low-priced eBooks chosen just for you based on your reading preferences and where you buy your eBooks.
With ten categories to choose from ranging from romance to biography to thrillers, you can get recommendations every day about inexpensive eBooks that readers have loved, including books that may be temporarily discounted only for a very short period of time.
This is potentially a good move for PRH, but it is also a situation where PRH has the deck stacked against them.
LitFlash differs from other recommendation services in that its corporate parent raises a certain degree of suspicion that the recommendations stem from PRH's desire to sell more PRH titles, and not find you the best deal.
I am subscribed to a half dozen different services like LitFlash, including eReaderIQ, ManyBooks, Fussy Librarian, BookBub, etc. TBH, most of those emails now go directly to my trash folder (I don't need more recommendations right now) but I stay subscribed because I generally trust the services to serve my best interest as a reader and buyer.
I don't know that I would feel the same way with LitFLash, and I have Hugh Howey to blame for that. The launch of LitFlash reminded me of something Hugh said a couple months ago when he wrote this about BookBub:
There was a discussion recently in one of my Facebook groups about a possible BookBub for indies. If you don’t know of the service, BookBub has a massive mailing list of readers, and their daily blasts move a TON of titles. Subscribers sign up for their preferred genres and are then notified when books they might enjoy are on sale for cheap. Many an author has hit a bestseller list thanks almost solely to BookBub. The program is so powerful that many consider BookBub to be the best marketing tool available to authors today, if you can snag a spot.
And therein lies the rub. The reason BookBub works is because its users trust them. The works are vetted, and however imperfect this system, it results in a high level of trust and satisfaction. From what I understand, BookBub looks for a minimum number of Amazon reviews, a minimum average ranking, and solid cover art/blurb/etc. For readers, a BookBub promotion serves as a stamp of approval.
Would you trust Random Penguin's book recommendation service to suggest good, cheap books, and not just ones published by PRH?