This is an issue that is already a grave concern for Amazon authors, but it should be for your stockholders as well. It appears we are jointly leaking substantial profit every year.
I wanted to put forward a short proposal in regards Amazon’s free ebook promotion program which I believe is losing both Amazon and authors substantial potential profit. I’m an author of a few ebooks, some under my own name and others under a pen name, and I predominantly use the Amazon platform for sales. I also use the free ebook promotion, but only begrudgingly as there is limited alternative. As an author it loses me profit, with not much payback. As an example, I have recently had a giveaway of about 800 ebooks that resulted in only about 4-6 customer reviews. That was about $2400 of ebooks given away.
Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands to millions of Amazon authors who may be using this facility, and Amazon and its author base could be jointly leaking hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars per year with the present program. At the same time ,the free ebook promotions are growing a ‘free book culture’ undermining part of our potential customer base. If the present situation continues, some customers will be lost forever as there is no reason for them to pay for books.
There are two reasons for an author to use the free ebook promotions:
1)To get more reviews
2)To broaden word about their books.
While other means might be used to deal with (2), I want to suggest a better means of dealing with item (1).
I applaud Amazon’s efforts to ensure only legitimate reviews are on its website, however, those efforts haves also resulted in a much higher bar for Amazon authors to get such legitimate reviews. 800 books being given away for a handful of reviews is not a sustainable model. It is also counter to the ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’ ethos that Amazon has adopted for its review system – as the crowd is essentially ‘missing in action’ when less than 1% are reviewing.
May I suggest that Amazon initiate a program of discounts for ebook reviews? If Amazon authors could nominate to provide back a discount of say half their ebook costs to customers who provide a review this would encourage a review culture for legitimate ebook customers within Amazon. Reviews would remain unbiased under such a ‘blind’ customer program since it would be untargeted, and because some money is paid, the something for nothing culture which is undercutting all our profits would be partially stemmed. I hope you might consider this option as one of many that could alleviate this problem.
Regards Scott Butcher (an author on Amazon)
Thunder Bay, Canada