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I've written several posts about Amazon's KDP Select program and whether exclusivity is worth it. Joe Konrath says it's not, but other authors who sell the overwhelming majority of their books through Amazon appreciate the marketing opportunities the program provides. For instance, being able to offer your book for free and having it included in Amazon's enormous borrowing library.
Here is a case study brought to you courtesy of Dee DeTarsio, author of Haole Wood. Dee enrolled her book with Amazon's KDP Select program and made it free from July 7th to the 11th. During that time she had 5,301 downloads.
Sounds great, doesn't it? Did that translate into lots of sales after it went back to $3.99 per copy? Not exactly. She made 32 sales between July 1st and July 14th and her book was borrowed 14 times. Furthermore, Dee spent $200 in advertising in the first week of July. She doesn't state this explicitly but it seems she spent this money with Amazon.
So here are the figures: 70 percent of $3.99 is about $2.80 and $2.80 times 32 is about 90 dollars. So that means that Dee is down by 110 dollars.
Was it worth it? It's good to keep in mind that advertising can put your work in front of new people, it can gain you exposure. As those 5,301 people read Dee's book I'll bet that a good percentage of them will be interested in reading her other books.
One thing Dee doesn't discuss is whether any of her other books sold better during her one week advertising drive or during her free days. Other authors have noticed when they offer one book for free, or for a reduced price, it's their other books that get the sales bump.
Dee's blog post about her advertising adventure can be read here: A Small-Budget Advertising Experiment.
Update (April 13, 2013): Joe Konrath has recently changed his mind about the worth of Amazon KDP Select. See: Joe Konrath says KDP Select Made Him $100,000 In 6 Weeks.
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