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Friday, March 1, 2013

The End of Free Kindle e-book Promotions, Part 2

As we discussed last week, changes to the Amazon Associates program starting in March are going to have a significant impact on the promotion of free Kindle e-books.  A few things have become more clear since then, so I wanted to update everyone on where things stand with Must Read Mysteries.

The new rules are that Amazon will withhold all of an Associate's earnings for a month if 1) 80% or more of the e-books downloaded after following your links are free and 2) 20,000 or more free e-books are "bought".  Representatives from Amazon have made it clear in emails to and conversations with other Associates that these rules will be followed even if the site does nothing to promote free e-books.  This is particularly scary to most book bloggers and Associates because, irrespective of what gets promoted, the vast majority of e-book downloads are free ones.  It appears likely that some sites that do not even mention free e-books will lose all of their income.

For the past several days Amazon has been providing Associates with reports on the number of free e-book downloads that can be attributed to them.  It is very clear that MRM will be on the wrong side of the 80% rule if we continue on as we have been.  While we might come up a bit short of the 20,000 free e-books to needed to trigger the death penalty, we are too close to take any chances.  So our plan going forward is to:

  1. Minimize and perhaps completely eliminate links to free e-books at Amazon
  2. Start linking to free and inexpensive books at Smashwords.  While the selection there is not as vast, it has the advantage of providing e-books in other formats in addition to Kindle.  It is also a great place to promote indie authors
  3. Redouble our efforts to find bargain mysteries for Kindle
All of this is subject to change as the new stats start to hit in March.  Thank you for bearing with us during the changes.


  1. Thanks for explaining this.

    1. You are welcome Dru. I really hope that there are not people out there caught unaware by the changes.


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