Amazon, authors, and publishers have long been able to start and stop sales on Kindle ebooks at the drop of a hat, and that has tended to put readers at a disadvantage. We don't know whether a deal ends today or next week, so we are often in a rush to get an ebook ASAP.
I prefer to know when sales will end, so I was pleased today when Amazon launched a new sales option for the Kindle Store. It's called Kindle Countdown Sales, and it is not exactly what you might expect.
While KCS can be used to put an ebook on sale for a few hours, KCS also lets authors and publishers run a days or weeks long sale and tell potential customers exactly when the sale will end.
I'm usually not one to wax poetic about marketing and retail methods but this is one which is a surprisingly good idea. Speaking as a reader, it gives me info about a sale that I have always wanted but rarely had.
Update: Unfortunately this deal isn't as good for authors and publishers. As I was just reminded on Twitter, KCS is only available for titles that are exclusive in the Kindle Store (I missed that detail):
Kindle Countdown Deals can be used by any publisher on any book that is exclusive to the Kindle Store.
On the plus side the seller will be able to earn a 70% royalty when using this sales tool (even when the price is under $2.99), but that might not be worth it. Depending on the market, this requirement for exclusivity might cancel out what little benefit authors and publishers gain from using this sales tool.