There's an interesting change brewing in the world of free Kindle eBooks, Amazon, and the websites that have sprung up over the years making money by leading customers to those free books through special Amazon Associates links. If those same customers happen to buy other products during the 24 hours whereby the Amazon cookie is live, the websites get a cut of the sales.
Thanks to a new policy by Amazon, all that is changing.
Authors like me have loved using these websites to promote our books -- especially during the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select "free days," 5 out of every 90 days that we can offer our Kindle books to customers for free in order to get exposure to our writing, and hopefully, more sales in their wake. This process used to work wonders for a sales boost before Amazon adjusted their algorithm. Hopefully it still works pretty well. I've got a new book (written under a pen name) set to go free on Friday, so I went through my usual Excel spreadsheet of about 35 websites that I can tell about my upcoming free book to promote to their readers itching to download something good on their Kindle device or iPads or laptops or MacBooks or iPhones all the other devices you can read Kindle books on.
But one thing changed this time, in the wake of Amazon's change. Some of the websites have stopped accepting free Kindle eBook submissions altogether; others have removed their submissions pages. Still others are continuing on with the business model.
"Associates who we determine are promoting primarily free Kindle eBooks and meet both conditions below for a given month will not be eligible for any advertising fees for that month within the Amazon Associates Program," the giant retailer recently wrote, scaring some of these cash cow websites who've moved a lot of product in that manner over the past couple of years.
What exactly are the risk factors that could make the free Kindle eBook-promoting websites lose their Amazon Associates money?
- At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links are free Kindle eBooks
- 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links
So there we go.
I'm sure some of the major websites pulling down tons in Amazon referral fees must feel like every time they've got a good thing going, something comes along to put the kibosh on it. But, chin up, there's always the next venture right around the corner.
This change is making this reporter glad, however, that I've been putting more time into writing and publishing Amazon Kindle edition books than promoting free ones.