One recent study found that 23% of male adults and 33% of female adults in the United States read ebooks. While this is still far from the majority of individuals, ebook reading is growing and with it, services for selling ebooks grow.
From time to time, I come across a new ebook service that I think is worth giving some attention to. One such service is BitLit.
BitLit is a new free mobile app that allows readers to obtain free or discounted ebooks of printed works they already own. Similar to Amazon’s Matchbook program that allows Kindle owners to get a Kindle ebook for free or a discounted price when they purchase a print version of the book, BitLit is offering free and discounted ebooks to customers who have purchased a print version of a book.
With BitLit, customers who want to obtain the ebook version of a book they already own simply have to take a picture of the book’s cover and a picture of their name clearly written in ink on the book’s copyright page. The customer then sends the images to BitLit through the BitLit app. The company uses computer vision algorithms to verify the book and the customer’s name and then emails the customer a download link to the ebook, which can be read on any device.
BitLit believes bundling provides an incentive for customers to buy a book. The company has run several pilot programs with bookstores to determine whether books marked with an “Includes FREE eBook” sticker sell better. The early results indicate that they sell almost twice as well as books that don’t include a bundled ebook.
Any publisher can sign up to have their ebook part of the BitLit program. Signing up is free and can be done on the company’s website at www.bitlit.com/publishers/#. BitLit takes a small commission on each sale. There is no commission on free bundled ebooks. However, the service does require that you are able to send your metadata via ONIX feeds.
A number of ebook services have started and crashed. Other have taken off and become popular. I don’t know if BitLit will be a hit or not. However, since it is free to use, and since bundling is a great sales incentive, BitLit offers you one more avenue to promote your books.