Friday, November 8, 2013

Amazon Programs for Readers, Writers, & Bookstores

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

The always-innovative Amazon has several new programs, with each tailored to make either readers, writers, or bookstores happy. Yes, I said bookstores, so read on.

For Writers
Gayle mentioned this program yesterday, but it’s worth looking at again. Kindle Countdown Deals allows authors to discount their books to as low as $.99 for a set period of time, but pays a full 70% royalty, even at that price. (Normally a $.99 book earns only a 35% royalty). With the higher royalty, more authors will offer books at the low price, so it’s good for readers too.

Amazon also features those discounted books on a special webpage so readers can find them and know how long the discounted price will continue. It'll be interesting to see what kind of effect the promotions have on future sales. Note: The program is only available to books that have been in the Select program for 30 days.

For Bookstores

Another new program called Amazon Source allows indie bookstores to profit from the cultural shift toward e-reading. Here are the basic options for bookstores:
  • Sell any Kindle device at a 6% margin (or less, should a store decide to discount), any Kindle accessory at a 35% margin and get 10% of all subsequent ebook sales on sold devices.
  •  Sell any Kindle device at a 9% margin (or less with discounting), any Kindle accessory at a 35% margin and get no part of ebook sales.
I’m hoping bookstores will get on board, increase their profitability, and lose some of their hostility toward Amazon.

For Readers
Amazon also has two new programs designed for readers. Kindle Matchbook launched a month ago and allows publishers and authors to offer readers a discounted (or free) ebook version when readers buy the print book. Readers have been asking for this all along, and it’s a great idea, even if overdue. Those who participate will build reader loyalty.

A fourth new program for readers and writers is launching in December, but I’m sworn to secrecy so you’ll just have to wait for the details.

What do you think? Will the Source program lure bookstores to participate? Writers: Have you participated in any of these yet?


  1. I would be participating in the Countdown program if the celebration of my newest, which was released on 10/22, didn't include some free days and reduced price days of my other two. Timing is everything. I'll be on board in a month or two.

    Approximately 500 bookstores (if I read the article right) are already participating in the Kobo program. Going with Amazon will increase those profits, and increase them fast. Just sayin'.

  2. Thanks for sharing all these latest initiatives by Amazon, LJ! And I'll be waiting with bated breath to find out what else they introduce in December!

    I'm participating in the Kindle Promotion Deal for my Style That Sizzles book and I'm really happy with the results in sales (tapering off a bit now that it's no longer at $0.99). Another advantage to this over just lowering your price is that the normal price still shows up, as well as the hours left before the deal is over.

    And I'm hoping that as more readers find out about the Matchbook program, we authors will see increases in both the print and e-versions of our books.

    Thanks for the info, LJ! :-)

  3. I really don't understand why indie bookstores have had such a virulent reaction to Amazon Source. Seems to me that leveraging Amazon's marketing muscle would help me sell more books, both print and digital. I'd stock Amazon imprints, too, if I owned a bookstore. To exclude authors like Barry Eisler and Marcus Sakey who move tons of copies simply because they made the jump from traditional publishers to Amazon seems like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. But that's just me.


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