Does A Kindle Ebook Gift Card Count As Real Sale On KDP?

How to gift a Kindle ebook

When you gift a Kindle ebook, it can count as a real sale, but …

If you need a little sales boost, offering to gift a Kindle book to readers can help give your ebook’s sales rank a quick little lift.

All you need is your recipient’s email address and then click the Give as a Gift button on your Amazon book page to send your Kindle gift card.

It all sounds so easy. But there are some traps. So don’t rush in until you have read on a little more. Giving a Kindle book gift card is not quite as simple as it all sounds. There are two main points to consider before you begin.


The first consideration is obvious, but it is worth mentioning.

You will be spending your own money on buying a Kindle books gift card and then gifting your ebook.

So spend wisely unless you have an unlimited budget.

But at the same time, you can get up to 70% royalty back if your Amazon Kindle gift card counts as a sale.


No Sale

Now here is the big important tip.

Even if your gift is accepted by a happy reader, not every ebook gift you send will count as a sale.

I made this mistake a couple of years back.

I wasted a lot of hard-earned cash due to my lack of knowledge.

There are a lot of reasons why a gift will not count as a sale.


How to gift a Kindle ebook to count as a real sale

How do you turn a gift of a Kindle book into a real sale? Here is the key to getting an ebook gift to count as an actual sale.

When you send a gift ebook, the recipient MUST claim the ebook within 24 hours of the delivery date.

One minute later, and bang, you get no sale. Here is the nitty-gritty from Amazon Help about Gifting for Kindle:

“Your royalties will be based on the price and royalty option selected at the time the Kindle gift was purchased. After the gift recipient downloads your title, your royalties will accrue, and the sale will show on your reports.

You need to go to a page called Timelines on Amazon and scroll down to Gifting to read the most important part.

A gift sale counts toward a sales rank only if it is redeemed within 24 hours by the recipient.” 

So if you send your ebook gift to a reader and then they happily but lazily claim your gift after a few days, you will lose not only your money, but you will also lose a real sale and any boost to your sales ranking.


Beware of the traps with gift cards

Another trap is that your recipient can choose to convert your ebook gift into a gift certificate to spend on other products.

On top of that, they can ask for a return on the Kindle Store. Yes, give it back. And worse for you, they can get a refund on their gift card from your very kind gift.

“You are welcome to gift your book to as many people as you like to help promote it. Be aware that gift recipients have the option of choosing a gift certificate instead. Also, as with all Kindle sales, gift recipients have the option to return the gift within 7 days of downloading.”

Lastly, be sure your recipient is in an Amazon-friendly country.

“Customers can gift all titles available through KDP on, through wishlists or book detail pages. The only current exception is for titles that are not available in the country where the customer lives.”

And I bet you thought that giving away a free gift was easy.


Know your reader

The 24-hour limit on gifting creates the most obvious problem.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could gift your ebook to your entire contact list?

You could try, but do they all have a Kindle and an Amazon account?

Will they all obediently claim your gift within 24 hours?

The key to using Kindle ebook gifting to help sales rank is knowing your recipient and knowing that they will claim your gift promptly.

You should include a personal message asking them to claim your book immediately.


Are you sure ebook gifting works?

Yes, 100% certain. In doing my testing for this post this morning while most of the world was asleep, I splashed out big on my research budget and gifted two copies of one of my ebooks.

Yes, I’m such a spendthrift.

Anyway, I knew both recipients, and they sent me an email as soon as they claimed my ebook gifts from the redemption link.

Half an hour later, I checked my KDP dashboard, and the two sales were showing, along with the appropriate increase to my royalty earnings for the two ebook sales.


How to use ebook gifting

Because of the 24-hour limit, bulk gifting is not a good idea at all.

To use gifting effectively, you will have to make sure you know that each of your recipients will definitely claim your gift as soon as they receive it.

To make this happen, you will have to be in contact with them.

This means that offering ebook gifts on social media or using gifts as giveaways or prizes probably will not work very well.

As I mentioned earlier, I made this mistake a couple of years ago when I used gifted ebooks as prizes.

Of the twenty ebooks I gifted, only four were claimed, and not one was inside 24 hours.

The result was exactly zero sales for a lot of money spent and wasted.



Yes, when you gift a Kindle ebook, it works and can result in real sales, but with one big proviso.

Your gift MUST be claimed in 24 hours.

That is not always as easy as it sounds, so be very sure you can trust your recipients to play their part.

So, would you like me to send you one of my ebooks as a gift?

Well, if you promise not to convert it into a gift certificate, not to ask for a refund, you live in an Amazon-friendly country, cross your heart, and hope to die that you will claim it within 24 hours, I might possibly think about it.


Related reading: 5 Digital Self-Publishing Skills New Authors Need To Master

16 thoughts on “Does A Kindle Ebook Gift Card Count As Real Sale On KDP?”

  1. Because Amazon is so secretive about how they apply anything, we’re left with a lot of guesswork. This is what I came up with:
    I believe the previous post by Melody is correct, i.e. all Kindle gift vouchers count as sales if and when they are redeemed. The 24 hour rule applies to ranking only.

    The $ 50 purchase rule allows you to leave feedback for your country only. You can’t leave feedback on eBay USA if you’re in Australia. It’s also worth remembering that gift books will allow recipients to leave feedback for verified purchases. I suspect and hope that eventually only those will show up as reviews while the others just go in the count.
    It used to be easy to have a second US Amazon account or change yours to another country but these days they seem to check your IP address and prevent you from doing business that way, even if you can supply a US contact address.

    There is a way around it by using a US IP address on your PC, available from one of the internet security providers like AVG. I got myself one and now I can purchase gift vouchers and leave feedback where I need it.

  2. Could you gift real book instead? Will they also count towards your rank? Thanks in advance!

  3. Does the 24 hour rule, be it for ranking or ranking plus royalties apply if:
    Auntie Florrie gifts the book to her nephew Hubert … and the author has nothing to do with it??

    I spent time suggesting Gift Kindle purchases as an ideal Christmas present my own books as the gold standard but anybodies book to get them used to the idea.
    The green option, no packaging, no energy used in making paper, no toxic ink residue and no book miles!

  4. Another question about this:
    Does a gift order count as only one sale, even f it contains multiple copies?
    For example if I purchase 5 copies to gift, is that order only counted as one sale?
    If so, do all 5 of the recipients need to download within 24 hours or it does not count at all?

    If this is the case, gifting single copies at a time is the only way this is advantageous during a launch (and of course being in touch with the recipient to make sure they not only received the gift email but they downloaded the book). Thanks for your insights on this!

  5. Avatar for Laurence Houlgate
    Laurence Houlgate

    Amazon has the following rule: “To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to make at least $50.00 in purchases in the past 12 months on with a valid credit or debit card.”
    Does this apply to books received as gifts? That is, will the recipient of the gift be prevented from reviewing the book if he/she has not made $50 in purchases in the past 12 months?

  6. Avatar for Sarah Addison-Fox
    Sarah Addison-Fox

    The whole not being able to gift to anyone in my own country totally sucks. Just another way Amazon penalises those outside of US borders.

  7. Hi – your post contains information that isn’t exactly accurate.

    A gift will count as a sale (and you’ll get royalties) as soon as the recipient downloads the book, whether it’s within 24 hours or even 2 weeks later. However, if they do not download it within the first 24 hours, it will not count towards your Amazon sales RANK, but as long as they do eventually download it, it will count as a sale and you’ll get paid.

    I have had instances where I’ve gifted a book and the recipient did not download the book or redeem the gift… in those cases, then no, you will not get the “sale” or royalties from it, since it was never redeemed.

  8. Couldn’t you just send gift certificates to people instead? They can be used anytime. Of course people could spend it on something else, but if they would, then they also would probably trade the ebook gift into a certificate.

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