Do Kindle Countdown Deals Work For Self-Publishing Authors?
In a word, no, Kindle Countdown Deals don’t work.
I should first give you some details and background on my research and conclusion, though.
Countdown Deals are only available if you are enrolled in Amazon KDP Select.
But one drawback is that if you use it, you cannot use free ebook promotions during the same 90-day enrollment period.
My Kindle Countdown experiment
First of all, I am not a believer at all in giving exclusivity to Amazon.
But for the sake of this experiment, I enrolled two of my Kindle books in Amazon KDP Select for a 90-day enrollment period.
Secondly, although I have a reasonable social media network, I did not promote my Countdown Deal.
I wanted to see how this promotion worked all by itself.
Because I believe it is important to separate a self-published author’s hard promotional work from what Amazon alludes to doing for self-published authors.
Why would you give exclusivity to Amazon if not to expect something in return?
Removing ebooks from other retailers will naturally mean fewer sales.
So what did I get for granting exclusivity and my promotional price for a Kindle Countdown Deal?
Not a lot, to be honest.
Only thirteen counties have access to Kindle Countdown Deals
Firstly, I live in a country that does not have a Kindle Store.
So there was no Countdown Deal for me or anyone else who lives where I live.
There are 163 countries in the world. But only 13, which have Kindle Stores, get the Countdown Deal reduction in price.
It wasn’t a great start to my promotion.
When I understood this barrier, I finally managed to find my Countdown Deal promotion on my Kindle Dashboard.
Then I got a link to the site in the US Amazon Kindle Store.
Where’s my ebook special?
My next challenge, though, was to find my ebook in the list of over 3,500 other ebooks on Countdown reduction.
By selecting my genre from the sidebar links, I thought this would be easy.
When I clicked, it didn’t take me to the ebooks on Countdown Deals.
It took me to the entire listing of Kindle ebooks in my genre.
All 300,000 plus of them.
I started to wonder how difficult it would be for potential readers and ebook buyers to find my discounted ebook.
I was having great difficulty finding it myself.
My decision was that it would be next to impossible for them.
It’s not surprising, then, to report on my ebook sales.
From my Kindle Countdown deal, the result was precisely none, zip, nil, zero, or 40-love.
So is this the return one gets for granting ebook exclusivity and being enrolled in KDP Select?
As I have always believed, there is no such thing as a free ride.
My thoughts now are moving to how many sales on other online ebook retailers I may have lost by granting 90 days of exclusivity to KDP for my four-day Kindle Countdown.
My other thought is that my social media network is a far better alternative than any KDP promotion.
It was the first and last Kindle Countdown Deal for me.
Price reductions, specials, coupons, and limited-time offers are all part of marketing and promoting any product.
If a Microsoft or Apple laptop computer is discounted from $1,000 to $700.00, yes, it will definitely sell more units.
Everyone loves a deal and a bargain like this.
But the problem with ebooks is that they are cheap, which makes it impossible to create a bargain.
Reducing the price from $3.99 to $2.99 or $1.99 is not going to attract much enthusiasm from book buyers.
In fact, it’s hard work trying to give away free ebooks.
So the problem is not with how Amazon or Kindle Countdown Deals work.
The problem is ebooks. They are just too cheap to offer for a limited-time reduced price.
Related reading: Amazon Book Promotion Tools Available On Your KDP Dashboard
3 thoughts on “Do Kindle Countdown Deals Work For Self-Publishing Authors?”
I agree, countdown deals do not work. I published a book a few years ago that is targeted towards middle school and high school competitive debaters, therefore it has predictable cycles of popularity, in September when debaters, especially novices, are gearing up for the school year, in December, when it is given as a gift to debaters, I assume, and in April, after the competitive season has wrapped up and debate coaches are looking for resources for next year. These cycles seemed to be true even last year during the worst of Covid lockdowns. I’ve run countdown deal promotions on this book twice, once during a regular non-peak (but still during the school year) month, and then again this year during September, the peak month. In neither month did I see any uptick in sales over that same month in previous years.
Thank you for the research and writing this blog. It will be more helpful if you can mention exactly how many sales do you mean by “close to zero”, was it 1, 2 or 5? Because if it was even 1, I’d take that start than letting my ebook stay untouched.
Thanks for sharing this. Going on my own experience and that of friends, Countdown Deals only work if you have your own method of promoting them, e.g. social media, BookBub, at least at the outset. I agree this shouldn’t be so, and that Amazon should make them more easily discoverable. Maybe, if enough writers withdraw from their exclusivity on Amazon as threatened due to discontent with the new KU/KOLL loans, things will improve.
Of course, I may be being overly optimistic.
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