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Free E-books and Duplicates


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#1 E.B. Black

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 01:39 PM

1. I am wondering, before I self-publish any of my books, which places allow you to publish a book for free and which don't?

In particular these . . .

Smashwords
Amazon
Itunes
Barnes & Noble
Lulu

But tell me about any other sites you know of as well.

I would like to upload my books directly to Amazon, Itunes, and Barnes and Noble, so I can get a higher percentage of the profit, but not if I can't make my books free permanently if I ever change my mind and decide to.

2. Let's say I upload a novel directly to Amazon and later decide to also upload it to Smashwords. Will there be two copies of my book uploaded on Amazon as a result? Or can I tell Smashwords not to upload it to Amazon again?

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#2 Rick Spilman

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:55 PM

I don't have a complete answer to your question, but I will pass on what I know and perhaps others will fill in the blanks or correct any errors in my understanding.

On Smashwords you can give your book way for free.

On Amazon you may not sell your book for less than $0.99. However, Amazon will match lower prices, so if you want your book to be free on Amazon, give it away on Smashwords and click the "Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price" link and tell Amazon that it is free on Smashwords. They should drop the price to zero.


You can also set the price to zero on a promotional basis for up to five days with Amazon Select, but that is not what you appear to be interested in.

I am not sure what the story is with B&N. I have read various statements that they will price-match and that they won't.

I do not think that Apple or Kobo allows pricing below $0.99. If there is a work-around ala Amazon ad Smashwords I am not aware of it.

Rick

#3 Darke

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 06:37 PM

2. Let's say I upload a novel directly to Amazon and later decide to also upload it to Smashwords. Will there be two copies of my book uploaded on Amazon as a result? Or can I tell Smashwords not to upload it to Amazon again?


When/if you upload to Smashwords, there's a link that takes you to your distributing 'channels'. Scroll down and you see all the places that Smashwords sends your book to. Each place has an 'opt out' option, and you can do it for individual books.

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#4 Peter Burton

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:43 PM

Another option, which I am considering my self, is an Adobe PDF, which you could put on your own website; possibly even a couple of the torrent sites, (Not sure about that last one, but we'll see.) Include the copyright disclaimer that the book is free to distribute as long as it remains in an unaltered condition. You should be able to disable editing on the PDF with your converter anyway, but nothing is 100% in the digital world. Naturally you should provide links to your 'for sale' books at the end of the freebie.

My reasoning for this is the free e-book is your bait. This is the book you are trying to gain a readership with. As such it should be the absolute best you can possibly do. (Yep, gang. A couple of truck loads of work, again.) Professional appearance, edited and revised to within a nanometer of its life, and a story to die for... or as close as we can get to one. :wink:

Some folks would think that's an awful lot of effort for something you plan to give away, but I think of it like this: the better your bait, the more fish/readers you're likely to catch. And I don't know about you guys, but I need all the 'fish' I can catch. (Besides, they'll be my readers, and I don't want to give them anything but my best... even if it is free.)

Nothing in this business is ever easy... is it? :biggrin:

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And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

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#5 RC Lewis

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:01 PM

That's definitely an option, but keep in mind that reading a PDF on most eReaders and eReader apps is a YUCKY experience. :blush:

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#6 Peter Burton

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:09 PM

Quite so, R.C., (I forgot to mention that, didn't I? :blush: ) Which, of course, is a good reason to have the other formats, (EPub & Mobi), available as well.

As I said... A couple of truckloads of work. :blink: :biggrin:

"But that's OK. There's treasure children always seek to find.

And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

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#7 C. Taylor

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:41 PM

Honestly, I think free books get the most traffic via the big sites-- Amazon, BN, itunes, etc. Even if you put it on your site, that means that people will first have to find you and your site in order to get your book, which means that getting the word out falls back on your shoulders, whereas by going via the big sites, your free book shows up when someone searches free books. And if you pick your sub genres carefully, it can be easy to make it into the top free 100, which again, makes it easy for readers to find your book.

As for SW, they're still not uploading to Amazon, and besides, I think you're better off uploading directly. BN will only allow you to put a book up for free by going through a service like SW. So I personally us SW for everything but Amazon, and will use them for BN if I'm trying to get the book to go free. If it's a paid book, I upload to BN directly, since SW's reporting of sales numbers confuses the hell out of me, and you don't get numbers in real time.

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        FREE

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#8 E.B. Black

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:35 PM

You guys have already helped me so much. I would have otherwise only been able to get this information through a bunch of trial and error. Now I have a better idea of what I am going to do. I was really worried I couldn't get my books listed for free on Amazon, but now I know how to do it.

Visit my web-site for links to my twitter, blog, facebook, and a way to e-mail me: http://www.ebblack.com/
 

Want a FREE novel? Love ROMANCE and GREEK MYTHOLOGY? Then download Pandora's Mistake on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

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#9 C. Taylor

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 12:55 PM

The key is to get it free on BN and Itunes. From there, just keep sending the lower price notices to amazon.

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#10 AOSpare

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:11 AM

Amazon won't allow free books listed but there is a way around it. If you list your book on smashwords and it is free elsewhere then Amazon will slash the price to zero to match B&N.
Al others allow free eBooks. I am not sure of lulu as I am not using them for more than repository of texts.
Would like to make your book look book-store quality?
I am a professional book designer using Adobe InDesign.

#11 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 03:24 PM

I thought listing my title on Createspace, Amazon, Barnes &Noble and Smashwords was complicated (A Word template for CS, a different Word doc for SW, and epubs for Amazon and B&N).

 

Now, that I'm trying to figure out how to give it away for free without joining Amazon Select, I'm thinking the document prep might have been a breeze.

 

From what folks have posted, it seems that the only way I can list for free at Amazon is to first reduce the price to $0 elsewhere and then notify Amazon so they price match.

 

I read a post on the Amazon KDP forums that one poor soul gave their book away for free on B&N for one hour but that Amazon kept their price at $0 for over a week.

 

Is there some way to synchronize pricing or to at least restore pricing after the freebee?

 

Mark


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#12 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 04:46 PM

Not really, Mark. Not as far as I'm aware. I think you can do coupon codes on smashwords, and since you (should, I hope) have all formats available there, anyone with any ereader can get your book free. Of course, it doesn't have the same convenience of the instant wireless delivery as buying direct from Amazon or wherever, but it's something.



#13 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

I have two ebooks out. One was listed directly at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords for $2.99.

 

I reduced the $2.99 price to 99¢ for a week without any problems. Then, last night, I raised the price back to $2.99 at Smashwords, B&N and Amazon with interesting results.

 

As of this morning:

B&N immediately changed the price to $2.99

Smashwords immediately changed the price to $2.99

Smashwords channels (Kobo, iTunes, etc) still show 99¢

Amazon changed the list price to $2.99 but is selling the book for 99¢ apparently automatically matching the lower price at Kobo and iTunes.

 

Mark


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#14 Cammy May

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:20 PM

My understanding is that amazon no longer allows free books, even to match prices.

But with them, you never know how much to believe.

But I have seen any recent free books on Kindle.


So far everything has turned about as I expected.

#15 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:30 PM

Update: As of this evening, everybody but Amazon has raised the price on The Kewpie Killer back to $2.99 so I emailed Amazon. We'll see what happens.

 

Cammy, there seem to be a lot of free ebooks there but I've also heard that Amazon is taking a harder line on freebies. It will be interesting to see what their current stance is.

 

Mark


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#16 Darke

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 06:16 AM

My first book is free on Amazon. It took a while of reporting it with links to other sites that listed it as free, but eventually they did, and across the Amazon board too. It's free in U.K and Canada as well as their other outlets. 


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#17 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:37 AM

This morning Amazon automatically price matched one of my books to free but still hasn't restored the price of my other book from 99¢ to $2.99. I'm still waiting for a reply to my email about that.

 

Update: Just got the following reply from Amazon. Luckily B&N and others don't automatically price match or I'd be stuck in an endless loop. 

 

Mark

 

"Thanks for letting us know about the pricing concern with your book.


To ensure our customers are offered the best price available, we may lower our price to match the price for your book on another sales channel. I've confirmed your book is no longer being sold for the lower price on other sales channels. You can expect to see it changed within the next couple business days.

Thanks for using Amazon KDP."

 

PS. A few hours after the email above, Amazon restored the price from 99¢ to $2.99. and I've already had 47 downloads by lunchtime of the free book at Amazon.


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#18 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:48 AM

I had some questions about changing prices and now that I have some answers, I thought I'd share my experience. Maybe this will help someone else.

 

Amazon price matching to free

I published directly to Amazon and to Smashwords. When I changed my Smashwords price to free, Smashwords update immediately and pushed out the change out to B&N, Kobo, Diesel, iTunes and Sony. These five updated the price to free within 24 hours. After I noticed Kobo and iTunes had dropped the price to free, I checked the price at Amazon. Amazon had price matched the book to free without any intervention on my part.

 

Restoring the price from 99¢ to $2.99 at Amazon while free elsewhere

I changed the price to minimize sticker shock when the free period ended and also because people out of the country were actually paying money for my free book. When I changed the list price of my free book at Amazon from 99¢ to $2.99, Amazon changed the list price on my book's page but kept the selling price at free.

 

Restoring the price from free to $2.99

On Wednesday May 15, I changed my price at Smashwords from free to $2.99. Smashwords changed their price immediately. B&N changed their price on Monday, May 20. Diesel and Sony changed their prices today, Friday, May 24. As of today, Kobo and Amazon are the only ones still offering the book for free.

 

Sellers changing back to free while waiting for other sellers to catch up

I was concerned that I might get stuck in an endless loop where sellers who updated the price more quickly would then price match with sellers who updated more slowly. So far, this hasn't happened.

 

Mark


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