For the past couple months Amazon has enabled authors and publishers to give away ebooks as contest prizes via Amazon.com - so long as the ebooks were paid for. Now Amazon is offering authors a better option.
The author or publisher of a book – whoever controls the digital distribution rights to the book – can now offer up to 100 copies of the Kindle ebook in a giveaway. The author or publisher chooses how long the giveaway will run, and Goodreads does the rest. At the end of the giveaway, Goodreads randomly chooses winners and automatically sends the Kindle ebooks to their preferred devices and Cloud accounts. Winners receive real Kindle ebooks, complete with all the great features and security that Amazon’s Kindle platform provides.
Authors can choose to run a contest before a book is published (it just has to be uploaded into the Kindle Store), and they can limit the number of copies in the contest (I see contests with only 50 copies available).
Giving away those (up to) 100 ebook copies costs a flat $119 per contest. And while we're on the topic, listing a print book for a free giveaway, however, will continue to be free - but you still have to mail the print book yourself.
The program is launching in beta with 8 titles, all of which are published by Amazon, and it is currently limited to only Goodreads members in the US (this restriction apparently applies to both the contest entrants and the authors running the contest).
All in all, this program has many positive attributes, but not all are pleased:
"The $119 fee is ridiculous and is punishing people (indie authors, particularly) for not having hard copy books," writes one author. "Amazon allows you to do free giveaways which is why so many people use it. I was excited to see that this service would be available, but saw in the end that you intended to exploit indie authors the way everyone does (including Amazon). But thanks for saving us the "cost and hassle." Between the high prices for Goodread ads and this new 'service,' how is any independent writer supposed to get ahead in the world? Thanks...but no thanks."
Do you think he has a point?
Considering that this program merely adds another option without depriving authors of the chance to give away their ebooks in the Kindle Store or elsewhere, I don't see the problem.
What do you think of this program?