I realize I’m a little late tackling this topic. For those in the know, as of March 1, Amazon.com changed its rules for those who have Amazon Associate accounts. What is an Amazon Associate account? It’s a special Amazon account for folks who actually make income (or referral fees) from their links when they advertise Amazon.com products online. Whenever someone purchases an Amazon.com product by following their links, they earn money.
However, according to the new policy, they forfeit all income accumulated for a given month if the following criteria apply to their account:
- 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are downloaded; and
- 80% of all Kindle eBooks downloaded are free Kindle eBooks.
Clearly Amazon.com is targeting free Kindle books and apparently discouraging Associates from selling so many free Kindle books. Sell too many free books, and you’ll get penalized in a big way. They are also apparently encouraging Amazon Associates to begin advertising Kindle books that actually cost money.
This makes sense from a profit standpoint. I’m not critical of Amazon—they can do whatever they wish. If free Kindle books aren’t boosting the sales of other books, then this is a logical move.
What does this have to do with me? Well, anyone who follows me on Facebook (profile and author page), Twitter, or Google+ (if you don’t, now’s a good time to start) knows that I love to post about free Kindle (and sometimes Nook) books, particularly on Facebook. I mostly post about Christian and history books.
It’s true. I love finding book freebies, and I love sharing this news with my friends. I feel like I’m doing book lovers a service, and many Facebook friends thank me regularly for letting them know about the freebies.
Others have asked, “Where do you find out about the free books?” That’s a good question because since the rules have changed, access to information about free books has changed. However, I’m happy to share what knowledge I have.
So the purpose of this post is threefold:
1. I want to assure online friends everywhere that I will continue to share information about free Kindle books as I’m aware of them. This new policy doesn’t affect me in the least. I would have to sell more than 20K free Kindle books per month to be affected, and I certainly don’t come anywhere near that figure. This isn’t a second business for me—I just like to share the book love.
2. I’m happy to share the addresses of the main sites where I get postings about free Kindle books. These are the main sites I check in my Feedly several times each day (except Sundays).
Christian Books on the Knob
Christian E-books Today
Books on the Knob
Kindle Bestseller Page (includes column of top 100 free books)
The Vessel Project (free books are listed on the bottom of the page)
Please Note: These sites post various content, some worthwhile and some not so worthwhile (and not so “Christian”). Frankly, the secular sites post a lot of junk I must wade through to find the gems. I don’t recommend these sites to everyone, but they may be worthwhile for bargain hunters who have patience.
3. Do I believe the free Kindle book ride will come to an end? Certainly the Internet is filled with such speculation. It’s very possible, and let me explain why based on personal testimony.
It isn’t rocket science to understand why publishers offer free Kindle (or Nook) books: to increase sales of an author’s other books. The thinking is, readers are willing to try a new author if the book is free. If the reader likes the free book, he or she may buy some of the author’s other books. The rationale makes sense . . . but only if that’s why people download the free books.
The fact is, a lot of us (I’m among them) just don’t spend much money on books. I just want the free books. I admit it. I’m cheap.
I also confess that I’ve become a hoarder of free Kindle books. The thinking is, Oh, that book looks good. I don’t have time to read it right now, but I may want to read it down the road. I’d like to check out that author’s style. And since it’s free, why not? It doesn’t cost me anything.
It’s true: I have found some wonderful free books and discovered a few new authors this way. But it’s also true that I’ll never get to most of these books. It’s just a fact. So I purchase them for free, but frankly most of them will never get read.
I don’t think I’m alone. Perhaps there are too many of us freeloaders, and that’s why Amazon has decided to implement a tougher policy. To discourage folks who are downloading a lot of free books but simply aren’t spending any money at Amazon.com.
Due to this experience I’ve discovered the repackaging of an important truth—a life lesson, really. If I “purchase” a book that costs real money, I’m more inclined to actually read it. But I don’t share this commitment with free books . . . simply because I haven’t made any investment in them.
Isn’t this so true of life? We don’t appreciate handouts as much as we appreciate things we have worked hard for.
What about you? Do you download lots of free Kindle or Nook books you never read? As a result of free Kindle or Nook books, have you found new authors and bought their books as a result?
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