Saturday, March 11, 2017

Print vs ebook: Amazon Giveaways

I recently used an Amazon feature called "Hosting a giveaway." If you look at the product page of a book, below the reviews and just above the "What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?" section, you will see a link to create a giveaway.

Amazon offers this feature on a lot of items, not just books. Basically, whoever "hosts" the giveaway pays for the items, including delivery. It can be anyone, not just an author, but for books, it's usually hosted by the author. Until just about a year ago, you could give way print books but not Kindle books, but now it works for both formats.

Setting up a print giveaway

The set-up process lets the host determine number of prizes, odds of winning (e.g., 1 in 1000, 1 in 500,etc), and what users have to do to enter (e.g., watch a video, or follow the author's Amazon page).

The process also allows some control over who can share the link. If you want to give away copies a part of your own promotion, you might want to use this option to limit how the giveaway was accessed. On the other hand, if you just want more readers and hope for reviews, you would wanted wider distribution not narrower,

What you don't get is a way to contract the winners. You can see their Amazon user names, but not contract them. But Amazon handles picking the winners, so it's guaranteed to be fair.

I have run giveaways in the past, but this time Amazon had added a new button that let them distribute the link for you. It sounded good,so I went for it.

Based on prior experience, I set the odds at 1 in 150, and since it was for print books, I limited the prizes to two. I created my welcome message, my congrats to the winner (with a plea for a review), my sorry you lost message (with a reminder that I have another book free, in Kindle format), and clicked the button.

I was waiting for the email to tell me that the giveaway was live, so I could post the link. I never got it. The giveaway ended in 16 minutes. A total of 282 people entered and, of course, two of them won.   I was astounded.

The ebook giveaway

A couple weeks later, I tried a giveaway that was as identical as I could make it, but this time with the same title in Kindle format, and three copies as prizes. I used the button to make Amazon distribute the link, and since it was a test, I didn't mention the giveaway here or anywhere else until after I gave away two kindle copies. That took 18 hours!

Once the second copy was given away, I advertised the link but even then, the number of entrants slowed to a trickle. I will be curious to see if the third copy is claimed before the giveaway end date of March 15.

So it looks like, as a prize, a print book is still much more valuable than a Kindle book.


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