Paying Goodreads To Give Away Free Ebooks – No Thanks

Paying to Give Away Free Ebooks

Just when you think free ebook promotions can’t get any sillier, along comes Goodreads with a new offer to give away your ebooks for more than $1.00 per copy!

Yes, for $119.00 Goodreads will give away 100 copies for you.

Now as far as bargains go, this certainly doesn’t sound like one to me.

While Bookbub is very expensive, with prices up to $500.00 for a free ebook promotion, it has been the go-to promoter for free ebooks for many authors.

As the whole point of free ebooks is to increase Amazon sales ranking, Bookbub at least returns a lot of downloads for the price. For $500.00 one can expect around 30-35,000 downloads, which equals around a cent per copy.

So the offer by Goodreads to offer free ebooks at over $1.00 per copy is awfully expensive.

My feeling about free ebook promotion is that as a promotional tool it has some benefits.

However, paying a lot of money to give away your hard work should only be considered when there is a clear marketing goal that will earn a return.

With Bookbub, the goal is to increase sales ranking that will, in turn, result in real sales.

While this result is never guaranteed, at least Bookbub has a track record of reasonable success.

At one cent a copy it is perhaps a reasonable gamble with Bookbub, but the new Goodreads offer at over $1.00 per copy is definitely not a good investment.

Instead, why not do a KDP Select giveaway for free and get hundreds if not thousands of downloads?

I have to say in conclusion that free ebooks have evolved over the last few years from being merely one promotional tool for self-publishing authors to becoming now, an industry where hopeful authors are being exploited.

Goodreads is owned by Amazon, so here we have Amazon wanting to charge $119.00 for something that authors can get for free on KDP Select. Well, only so long as they are exclusive with Amazon.

It is also worth noting that free ebooks are also a hook used by many Amazon Associates affiliate marketers as a way to attract customers. You can read an earlier post I wrote about this; How Free Ebooks Make Money – But Not For Authors.

My thinking for some time now has been that free ebooks are very profitable for Amazon. But for authors? I’m not so sure anymore.


Further reading: Free Ebooks Don’t Work Like Free Stuff And Free Giveaways

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

3 thoughts on “Paying Goodreads To Give Away Free Ebooks – No Thanks

  • March 13, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Two Thumbs Up – Agree – Why? – Why? – Why are authors considering this silly notion?

  • February 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Good grief. Or should I say Goodgrief? Thanks for the article.

  • February 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    What do you epect Derek? After all, Goodreads is now part of Jeff Bezos’ money driven empire…


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