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Rosetta Books provide the latest example of how not to promote ebooks

Last year I wrote a few posts about ebook promotions that I thought were poorly conceived, effective, or frankly stupid. Today I encountered a new example.

Rosetta Books are offering 5 ebooks for free right now. These 5 titles have largely been forgotten in print but they all have been made into famous classic movies including, The Graduate, Dr. Strangelove, Field of Dreams, Midnight Cowboy, and A Passage to India.  I think they’re all worth getting before the deal ends on 3 June. Here’s where you can get them in the Kindle Store:

I’m sending you to the Kindle pages not because I love Amazon but because these ebooks aren’t being given away in very many places. In fact, you can only find them in only 3 stores (Kindle, B&N, and Copia). I checked on Inkmesh, and you can buy them just about anywhere. But you can’t get them for free.

That has me a little pissed. What’s the point in giving something away if you don’t actually give it away?

What’s worse is that (according to a brief Twitter survey) these titles are only available here in the US Kindle Store. (Copia and B&N are also US only.) What’s the point in giving away an ebook when you ignore the majority of your potential customer base?

BTW, yes, Rosetta Books do have world rights. Shoeless Joe showed up in the US, WHSmith (UK), (Australia), and (Netherlands Antilles). It boggles the mind that they’re not exploiting them.

image by anyone123

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martijn May 16, 2011 um 11:04 am

I can download and read Shoeless Joe from Copia in The Netherlands, but not from Amazon. Haven’t tried B&N yet.

Nate Hoffelder May 16, 2011 um 11:08 am

The next time I hear B&N selling ebooks outside the US will be the first.

And thanks for catching my mistake!

Doug May 16, 2011 um 2:41 pm

B&N does sell, and has sold, a very limited number of e-book titles in Canada. That number appears to be dwindling.

It would help if B&N’s search engine were to provide the ability to search for e-books available for sale to Canadians. Or even a way to filter the search results for Canadian-available titles. It doesn’t, so we need to turn to Google.

Simon & Schuster has, by Google’s count, about 105 titles available in Canada. Out of, by B&N’s count, almost 10,000 S&S e-book titles. Here’s a Google search to turn them up:"protectorates+and+canada+only.""publisher%3A+simon+"

The other B&N e-books that are available in Canada are generally from smaller publishers:, Samhain, Whiskey Creek, Amber Quill, etc.

Doug May 16, 2011 um 2:43 pm

Bah. The weblog software messed up the Google URL in my posting above. So go to Google and put in this search string:
+"protectorates and canada only." +"publisher: simon "

Mike Cane May 16, 2011 um 11:19 am

Eh. I figure this is just par for the course. There are many, many free eBooks that only Amazon has. B&N with PubIt has allowed writers and small publishers another outlet for freemiums, so it’s no surprise to learn B&N has these too. Sony? Kobo? Ahem.

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