goodreads_icon_200x200_feb_400x400Authors and publishers now have a new tool in their arsenal for promoting their Amazon e-books. Publishers Weekly reports that Amazon’s Goodreads platform is launching a free e-book giveaway program to go with the print-book giveaway it already had. The promotion will allow the party with the book’s distribution rights (whether that’s the author or publisher) to give away up to 100 free copies of a Kindle e-book.

Goodreads’s print book giveaway program is free, because the author or publisher has to bear the costs of printing and shipping out those 100 copies. However, the e-book giveaway will have a $119 fee. It is open to US members only during the beta, but afterward it will be open to anyone who sells their e-books on Amazon. Books given away will not count as sold for the purposes of determining sales rank, and KDP Select titles are eligible as well.

People enter the Goodreads giveaway program for a chance to win free books. The giveaways, a Goodreads spokesperson explained, attract hundreds, if not thousands, of consumers. Once a giveaway promotion ends, Goodreads will randomly pick the readers who will receive the 100 free e-books. Publishers set the length of the giveaway promotion, which can start either 3 months or 1 week before the book’s publication, or it can run for 1 month post-publication. Giveaways are listed on the Goodreads site and provide an “enter giveaway” button as well as info about the book and length of the promotion.

Reportedly, Goodreads print giveaways helped launch the success of the best-selling novel Girl on the Train. One feature of the program is that readers entering a giveaway itself helps to spread the word of the giveaway, as a notification appears in all their friends’ and followers newsfeeds when a Goodreads patron enters one.

$119 might seem like a lot of money to a self-publishing author, but if the program works as advertised, giving giveaways the chance to go viral, it could be a good investment. Bookbub promotions cost money, too, but a lot of self-publishing authors use those. On the other hand, some commenters on the Goodreads blog post aren’t thrilled by the expense. Amazon does permit authors to give their own e-books away for free, and Smashwords has a free giveaway coupon program, too.

What do you think? Good deal, or not?


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