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Goodreads Now Lets Indie Authors Give Away Kindle eBooks

Goodreads is about to launch a new service where authors can give away ebooks – but there is a fee, of course.

From the GR blog:

Today, we’re announcing our new U.S. giveaways program, with two packages offering new high-impact features to drive increased book discovery and reader reviews. The new program is designed to deliver additional marketing benefits that authors and publishers have been asking for, including more ways to reach the author’s readers, and automatically adding the book to the Want-to-Read lists of anyone entering the giveaway. And for the first time, Kindle Direct Publishing authors can run giveaways for Kindle ebooks—a feature previously only available to traditional publishers. All of these benefits are included in the Standard package which costs $119 for up to 100 copies (either Kindle ebook or print book). The new Goodreads Giveaways program, which replaces our current Giveaways program, will go live on January 9, 2018, and will initially be for giveaways open to U.S. residents.

We’re also introducing a Premium package, offering special “Featured” placement on the highly-trafficked Giveaways page, as well as all the benefits of the Standard Package. The Premium package is $599 and is available for either print books or Kindle ebooks.
To celebrate the new Giveaways program, we’ll be offering special introductory pricing of $59 (save 50%) for all Standard giveaways and $299 (save 50%) for all Premium giveaways created between January 9, 2018, and January 31, 2018.

Goodreads had initially launched this program last May, but it was restricted to publishers. The terms were essentially the same, though.

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Jim November 29, 2017 um 9:31 am

This is a bummer. You used to be able to give away paperbacks for free on goodreads.

Carolyn Jewel November 29, 2017 um 1:39 pm

Whoa. That featured program is steep. This has to pay for itself on the level of a BookBub ad for it to many any sense at all.

Nate Hoffelder November 29, 2017 um 2:43 pm


Speaking of promotions, what sites have you used, and can recommend?

Will Entrekin November 29, 2017 um 3:30 pm

This sounds like fantastic news. That seems like a reasonable price (especially the promotional prices), and I like that it’s so integrated into Amazon’s ecosystem and could be helpful to encouraging reviews.

I saw The Verge reported on it and spun it as bad for indie authors. I’m guessing they missed the part about the KDP side having been available only to publishers previously.

That’s a significant jump up to the Featured, so I do wonder how much that placement increases the return in the end.

Either way, looking forward to being able to sign up and try it out.

Nate Hoffelder November 29, 2017 um 3:55 pm

The comment section diagreed:

Peter Winkler November 29, 2017 um 6:07 pm

This stinks of vanity press’s upselling useless marketing packages.

It costs Amazon practically nothing to keep an ebook on their servers and not much more to manage such a giveaway, since no physical books are involved.

They’re just monitizing hapless writers' desperation.

Miss M November 29, 2017 um 7:06 pm

Goodreads author comments are pretty rabid:

Nate Hoffelder November 29, 2017 um 7:18 pm

thanks. I’ll go pop some corn, and go read the comments.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) November 29, 2017 um 8:24 pm

Indie authors tried GR ads for quite a while–I don’t know of a single one that was happy with results. GR is way late to the freebie game–there is instafreebie and Book Funnel–already in business and while there are fees, they also give the author an EMAIL address (the readers agree to this). GR charges a boatload more–for a maybe. There will be authors who try it and report back. But as someone who tried some of their free advertising and looked into their paid advertising, I’m not even willing to read through their package rules. There’s just no way I think the ROI is there.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) November 29, 2017 um 8:26 pm

P.S. The email address is used to sign readers up to newsletters–this means they have a better chance of retaining the reader. That probably wasn’t clear. Just giving away books and getting nothing in return…you can do that by setting your book to free. The "placement" might help. But it will have to prove itself.

Robert Nagle November 30, 2017 um 7:59 am

Librarything has a better giveaway program and doesn’t charge any money. Occasionally some excellent indie titles are listed there.

Nate Hoffelder November 30, 2017 um 8:16 am

Apparently no one is using the LibraryThing freebie service – the early review copy page is fairly active, though.

Robert Nagle November 30, 2017 um 8:01 am

At the risk of repeating myself, if you are a reader and interested in free ebooks, be all means bookmark the librarything link and check regularly. Publishers like to give away ebooks as review copies (my company has given away about 10 titles there).

Robert Nagle November 30, 2017 um 11:43 am

To Nate: More people sign up for the Early Reviewer site for ebooks, but fewer people actually win these early reviewer giveaways. The Member Giveaway has fewer people who sign up, but almost everybody wins! Right now I’m looking at the Early Reviewer part, and I see none of the review books or ebooks are even available.

In contrast, there are about 100 titles available as ebooks from the Member Giveaway section. And all of them are eligible for people to sign up for.

You have to make sure to select the Member Giveaway button is selected, and that you have filtered the MEDIA to "ebooks." Every time I post a giveaway on Member Giveaway, I get about 50-75 people who sign up.

Robert Nagle November 30, 2017 um 11:50 am

Looks like "Early Reviewers" are for companies which sign up as "publishers." It’s tied to other things on the site. "Member giveaways" are for LT users (usually indie authors giving their stuff away). So I probably could sign up as Publishers if I wanted to.

From the help: "Early Reviewers limits participation to select publishers. Member Giveaways is an informal way for any author or member to list books to give away."

Member giveaways have more different titles to give away (and in greater number). Early Reviewers have somewhat higher quality titles.

Robert Nagle November 30, 2017 um 12:40 pm

One final comment: According to LT’s help, Member Giveaway has given away 900,000 books/ebooks; Early Reviewer has given away 300,000. It’s a good thing that Goodreads has entered the fray even though they’re rather pricey. Goodreads is sending the ebook through the requester’s Amazon account rather than making available a DRM-free copy (which is the only thing Member Giveaway publishers can do). This is no surprise because of the relationship between and goodreads.

Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if LT starts charging for their Giveaway/Early Reviewer program eventually. There are lots of free ebook promotional services out there (instafreebie, etc), so the competition will be fierce.

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