Bookbub has long charged authors and publishers fees in order to be accepted into one of its ebook deal newsletter, but it has always set a certain standard for quality (reviews) and editorial fit. Now it is setting aside those standards, and is going to start listing straight adverts in its newsletter.
On Wednesday Bookbub announced that publishers and authors no longer have to have a deal for readers in order to get their ebook listed in the Bookub newsletter:
BookBub Ads run in a dedicated space in BookBub’s daily emails. Advertisers — authors, publishers, agents, and other book marketing professionals — can use this space to promote full-priced books, discounted books, audiobooks, novellas, multi-author box sets, and much more.
Bookbub has also posted an FAQ.
The new ad units are CPM ads like you would find on most websites, and not fee-for-placement like the the rest of the email. Bookbub says that the price of an ad unit is determined by a competitive bidding process, with the high bidder obviously getting priority.
Bookbub has long been the king of the ebook discount newsletters, but over the past year has been pivoting more and more to be a marketing service. One industry insider told me that "strategically speaking it seems to me they’re starting to compete with Amazon for the most important nuggets – the direct connection between author and customers", and they were right.
Bookbub had already expanded beyond just pitching deals. It also encourages authors to fill out their profile on Bookbub's website so that readers can follow authors and get news about new releases.
This is similar to a service Amazon offers through author pages on its site, and it is only the the most obvious way that Bookbub competes with Amazon.
How long do you think it will take before they get stepped on?
Or even better, how long until Bookbub gets acquired?
A discount newsletter service has a short half-life in an ever shifting retail market landscape, but a marketing service would have real value to a publisher (or Rakuten, which might buy Bookbub and then pivot the company).