Innovate or Die

Amazon didn’t become the largest online retailer by chance. The company is smart, strategic, and innovative.

kindle comic

Amazon knows that they must continue to innovate and provide new tools and services to stay on top of the hill. Thus, they continue to roll out new things regularly.

It’s not too hard to create an Amazon Kindle ebook. There are a number of online tools that help authors and publishers do this (Calibre, Jutoh, Mobipocket Creator, etc.). However, these tools are mainly for text books with just a few images. Those authors and publishers wanting to put their graphic novels (image rich books) into the Kindle Store do not have access to as many tools to help them do this.

Amazon has come to the rescue. They have launched the Kindle Comics Creator.

According to Amazon, the Kindle Comics Creator removes the need for authors and publishers to understand the intricacies of the HTML/CSS code that goes into an ebook. This tool lets authors import artwork, arrange the layout, and even create a guided reading experience with Kindle Panel Views. The Kindle Comics Creator is reportedly able to automatically detect the panels in an image and it will recommend a reading order that will best guide a reader through the story.

If you publish graphic novels or comics, this new tool from Amazon might save you time and money. Amazon is hoping it will help you put your next graphic novel or comic book in their system.

You can be assured that Amazon will continue to roll out more tools to help authors and publishers place books in the Kindle store with ease. Rumor has it that Amazon is beta testing a cover creation tool for its Kindle Direct Publishing. This tool will reportedly have access to thousands of royalty-free images and allow authors to quickly and easily create a cover design for an ebook. Best of all, word is that it will be free to use. Stay tuned for more on that.

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Amazon’s eBook New Policy

If free sells books, then why is Amazon changing its tune?

Recently, Amazon told its affiliate partners that, starting this month, it is placing a limit on the number of free Kindle ebooks that an affiliates’ traffic to Amazon can download. If an affiliate’s traffic generates too many free Kindle ebook downloads in a month, the affiliate will receive no affiliate income for that month.

IBD-Free-on-Kindle

To be specific, Amazon affiliates will be penalized in any month that one, their affiliate ID shows up on more than 20,000 free Kindle ebook purchases, and two, 80% or more of the ebooks downloaded from their link are free. If an Amazon affiliate can’t comply with the rule, they will lose their income for the month.

Studies have shown that the number of free ebooks that digital readers download is much higher than the number of books they purchase. Some studies say that over 50% of ebooks that digital readers download are free ebooks. Smashwords reported in 2012 that their site saw 100 free downloads for every paid ebook.

Many authors offer their books for free in the Kindle store for a short period of time as a marketing tool to gain exposure. Some of these authors then see a spike in full price sales upon returning their ebook to paid, all without the need to do additional marketing and advertising beyond the promoting they originally did to drive readers to download the free version.

Amazon has always been out to make a profit. They did not grow to own almost half the ebook market by chance, but rather through shrewd business practices. Their latest move is another cunning businesses practice. I believe that Amazon analysts tracking the free ebook downloads versus the paid downloads realized that they needed to do make a move to discourage free downloads and encourage more paid downloads, making more profit for Amazon. This is their move.

After all, Amazon continues to reduce the price of the Kindle to lure consumers to purchase them, locking the consumer into buying ebooks from the Amazon store. However, it appears that Amazon may be concerned that their Kindle move is not as successful in generating as much income as they had hoped due to a larger share of free ebook downloads by Kindle owners. Choosing to take a different tactic then Barnes & Noble—they lost ground in the ebook market by stopping their affiliate fees for ebooks—Amazon is keeping their affiliates for ebook sales but, instead, placing limits on them.

The good news is that authors will still be able to offer free ebooks on Amazon. The bad news is that all the websites that promote free Kindle ebooks may not as readily list every free ebook special on Amazon anymore, reducing the reach of your marketing efforts in offering a free ebook.

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The Key to Selling Books on Kindle

It keeps cropping up in the news. I keep hearing about it on publishing discussion groups. The number of authors who are self-publishing novels for the Kindle and then selling thousands of copies of their books is increasing.

Recently, Amanda Hockings was big news in the self-publishing world. Amanda penned novels and received rejection after rejection from publishers. Finally, she made the decision to put her novels up for sale on Amazon’s Kindle. To date, she has sold 900,000 copies of her ebooks and essentially become a millionaire. Now she has received a two million dollar book deal for a new series from a major publisher.

Just the other week, The Charlotte Observer (a newspaper in my home town) had an article about a woman named Elisa Lorello. Elisa is a teacher in North Carolina. She, too, after multiple rejections from publishers, decided to publish her first novel as an ebook for Amazon’s Kindle. At first, she got a modest response, but when she lowered the price from $1.99 to $.99, her sales began to soar. To date, she has sold 52,000 copies of her novel on Kindle.

So what’s the key to selling thousands of books on Kindle?

Well-written novels for the younger generation (16 to 32 year olds) priced at $.99.

I’m not joking. Every success story on selling thousands of copies of books on the Kindle has had the common theme of books priced at $1.99 or below. Both Amanda and Elisa sold many of their books for $.99.

It appears that many Kindle owners have a garage sale mentality. “Here is a cheap novel for $.99. I will pick it up and see if I like it.” When you buy books cheap at a garage sale, you can take a risk. You are not shelling out much money when paying a buck for a book. If you don’t like the book, no sweat; after all, you got it for a bargain.

If you have a Christian novel you want to sell, try bargain pricing it for the Amazon Kindle. You probably will pick up a number of Christian readers who are just looking for the bargain books.

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