A very good book (worth getting), about book offers

Stephen Windwalker at Kindle Nation writes some of the best Kindle related books. His $4.99 book, The Complete User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle, was the best-selling Kindle book for all of 2008. Yes, for the entire year of 2008.

This, despite it being at $4.99, and seeing competition from Twilight and Edgar Sawtelle.

He’s just released a new book – Kindle Free For All. It’s about how you can find free books, and other free content, for the Kindle and for Kindle Reading Apps. It’s just $1 – which is surprisingly low. After taking a look at it – it’s easily worth more than five times the price.


A few points worth mentioning, as disclosure –

  1. I do know Stephen Windwalker personally, so there’s that to consider.
  2. His book mentions my blog in one place – actually, recommends it. Didn’t know that when deciding to recommend his book – However, you could consider that a source of bias.
  3. A lot of the resources he recommends are sites he runs. Don’t see anything wrong with that, as Steve knows it won’t be sites that disappear (as they often do), or stop updating. However, you should be aware that he’s pointing to the best resources for the Kindle, and sometimes they are his sites.
  4. Reviewed a gifted copy of his book. It’s just $1, but it being free obviously inclines me to favor it a tiny bit more than if it were paid.

So there’s a bit of bias in there.

On the other hand, Steve has been running one of the biggest Kindle blogs, and the biggest Kindle weekly newsletter, for years – So he really knows what he’s talking about. Even if you strip away X amount of personal bias on my side, he’s still one of the top Kindle experts.

And there’s something to be said for someone who’s been supporting Kindle owners, and the Kindle, right from the start.

The really good chapters

You might want to jump straight to Chapter 4 – that’s the best chapter, in my opinion. It lists all the major sites that offer public domain books, and also has instructions for each. It’s very helpful.

Chapter 6 is on using Calibre, and it’s a beauty too. Chapter 7 is on using the Kindle’s browser to read blogs for free – Another good chapter.

I like that the chapters are short and well-explained. You can read them one at a time, in quick 5 to 15 minute spurts.

Chapter 8 is on checking email using your Kindle. This chapter alone is worth more than $1.

Chapter 9 is on free audio books from LibriVox.

There’s also a very interesting chapter, at the very end of the book, on ‘the politics of free content’. It discusses DRM and the concept of Free.

Kindle Free for All is a winner

The book has comfortable, conversational language. The chapters can be read in any order, and it’s a bit of a surprise to see it priced this low – $1 means that Steve only gets 30%. So he’s forgoing the 70% cut he’d get by pricing the book at $3 – In return, he can reach more Kindle owners. It’s a really good, customer-focused move by him.

There’s obviously some amount of bias – Steve runs a good blog, and is very pro-Kindle, and very anti-Agency Model, and very pro-Indie Author. It’s hard for me not to like someone like that.

However, with 100% certainty – His book is worth a lot more than $1, and well worth getting. Kindle Free for All is a 5-star book.

My recommendation would be to first go through Chapters 8, 4, and 9. Then chapters 6 and 7. Finally, you can start from Chapter 1 and read everything.

The slow pile-up of Kindle book offers + free story

First, for your Kindle, a short story –

All these offers and the recent increase in the number of $1 and $2 kindle book deals creates a unique problem.

How can a kindle book offer stand out?

There are just too many offers. Despite writing almost daily posts on Kindle book deals there are still an abundance of book offers left over –

  1. After yesterday’s post on 28 children’s books for 88 cents each (including Curious George) there are now another 20 or so offers at 88 cents each (including a couple of Junie B. Jones books).
  2. Brenda Jackson is offering 5 Romance Novels for 81 cents each. These are all books rated 4 stars or 4.5 stars. The link takes you to one and then the ‘Customers who Bought this Item Also Bought’ section right below the book cover has 2 more 81 cent books. Alternatively, you could click on her name to bring up all her books and sort by Price: Low to High.
  3. There are also 80 cent romance novels from Sandra Edwards and Lori Foster.
  4. Almost every Publisher is using the trick of getting free publicity for an author’s new release by offering a previous book by the author for $1 or $2.
  5. Publishers are also using free books and free prequels and stories (like the one above) to generate interest in new book releases.
  6. More and more indie authors are moving to the $1 price point.
  7. A lot of backlist books are coming in at $3.

There are so many free offers and deals that you need an offer to generate interest in the offer.

We’ve moved from ‘How to get attention in a crowded market’ to ‘How to get attention in a market crowded with free offers and $1 book deals’.

$1 Book Deals are no longer getting much attention

There was a time (most of 2008 and 2009) when a $1 book got a ton of attention. Orbit Books used to have a $1 Book of the Month special and Amazon would feature it and lots of people would buy it.

Imagine that – Having a $1 book offer was enough to get attention.

Now, even with a $1 or $2 book deal from a bestselling author, it’s hard to get attention. Just in this week alone we’ve had 5 or more bestselling authors offer books for $1.99. Not a single one of them got a ‘Special Feature’ by Amazon. When people mention it on the forum the offer quickly gets buried by newer offers – sometimes within 15 minutes.

A $1/$2 offer is slowly losing its power.

Fighting for Attention despite a $1 Book Deal is just the Beginning

It’s going to get worse.

Currently we have 50 to 100 free book offers a month. At least those get lots of attention from everyone and lots of downloads. If we go back to 2008, we had 3 to 5 free book offers a month.

What happens when we have 10 to 20 offers a day and 400 offers a month?

Then free book offers will become the equivalent of what $1 book deals have become now. Before you can check the 5 most recent free book offers there will be another 5. Halfway through that list there’ll be another 5.

Where do we go after free?

First, it became tough for a book to stand out in the Kindle Store. Now, it’s becoming tough for a $1 book deal to stand out. Soon, it’ll become tough for a free book offer to stand out.

What do authors do after that?

The ability to use free books as free marketing is going to vanish. Free book offers are only valuable when there is a limited supply. These days, every single author wants to use a $1 book deal or a free book offer to promote her/his new novel. That means the number of offers keep increasing and readers are well on their way to becoming indifferent to offers.

Instead of a treat it’ll become an expectation.

We’re already beginning to see this in the way readers react to free book offers – There’s no longer that ‘once in a month’ special feeling. Users get 10 offers on Monday and then 11 on Tuesday – more offers in 2 days than they probably got in all of 2008. It’s just not that special any more.

Kindle Store authors are about to lose their two main free marketing options – Book Deals and Free Book Offers. Then, horror of horrors, they’ll have to spend actual money on marketing their books.

Perhaps even more fascinating is wondering what will happen as this trend continues and competition for readers gets tougher and tougher. Authors have no idea how challenging things are going to be for them and readers have no idea how good things will be for people who read books.

very well reviewed kindle free book

Here’s the kindle free book –

  1. Invisible by Lorena McCourtney. Part 1 of the Ivy Malone Mystery Series. Rated 4.5 stars on 15 reviews. Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Christian Suspense.

    She’s not your average crime fighter! Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it’s only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation.

    Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can’t resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities’ attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor’s match-making schemes can’t slow her down.

Well, that’s all for now.