Kindle Daily DealA year ago, on August 24, 2011, the Kindle Daily Deal was launched. The first featured book was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Yesterday’ price – $5.59, today’s discount – $4.20, Kindle Daily Deal price – $1.39.

Since that time, the discount mantra comes back every night around 12:00 AM, Pacific time. It’s interesting to observe how Kindle Daily Deal is doing and how it evolves, as it is Amazon’s important tool in turning Kindle owners from occasional users into frequent visitors. What’s more important: frequent visitors who buy a lot more than just e-books from Daily Deal.

In October of last year, I prepared a report about Kindle Daily Deal, based on its first fifty books. Below is one of the charts, showing a price split:

The average KDD price was $1.75. The average saving was $6 (78%). I’ve been observing Kindle Daily Deal on a regular basis, and haven’t noticed any downward or upward trend in prices and discounts. Therefore, based on the figures from the report, we could say that, theoretically, in the first year, if you were buying Kindle Daily Deal books every day, you would:

  • spend $639
  • save $2,190

To be closer to life: if you bought just 10 Kindle Daily Deal books, you would:

  • spend $17.50
  • save $60

If you buy 10 books per year that are featured in the Kindle Daily Deal, you can save $60 (who knows, maybe even for a next-generation Kindle)—although this would only due to the fact that you’re checking Kindle Daily Deal every day, and are open to read books from various genres and authors.

Kindle Daily Deal is one of the most important factors in switching price expectations of Kindle users. Before it launched, the $0.99 price tag was mostly associated with self-published novels. Since August 24, 2011, the landscape changed dramatically. I’m very fond of self-published and indie books and was the last one to acknowledge this fact, but in the end I had to do it.

It no longer pays to sell a self-published book for $0.99. Every day you have a heavy-promoted competitor, which in most cases is a more popular book than yours. Even if it’s not a bestseller (there actually weren’t enough bestsellers featured on KDD—more about this issue later in the post), it has the advantage of being the discounted book. Readers have the choice:

  • to buy a self-published mystery novel from an author they know nothing about for a regular price of $0.99
  • to buy a mystery novel featured on KDD from an author they know nothing about for a deal price of $0.99

The deal is the deal. That’s why many self-publishers increase the price to $2.99 and use KDP Select to occasionally offer their books for free.

“An author I know nothing about.” I have to admit, I would say that about 95 percent of the Kindle Daily Deal authors. Yes, we had Sara Gruen and Michael Connelly; Kurt Vonnegut comes back frequently (and today we have Breakfast of Champions); a couple of days ago there was Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins—but it’s not enough to associate Kindle Daily Deal with bestsellers. (The thinking goes like this: If the book is a bestseller, why should I discount it?)

Kindle Daily Deal is about taking books from a mid-list and making them bestsellers. In a pre-Christmas heat, in October only, as much as 20 Kindle Daily Deal books made it to the Top 100 in the Kindle Store!

Popularity is one area. Another topic to discuss is availability. For a user living outside the U.S., I can say that the Kindle Daily Deal is more about teasing than buying. Yes, the good thing is that Amazon doesn’t add an international fee when you buy Kindle Daily Deal books from abroad. The bad thing is, very often there are geo-restrictions.

One type of geo-restriction is that the book is not available at all in your country. Fine, I can live with that. A much worse kind of geo-restriction is that the book is available for foreign customers—but at a regular, no-discounted price. I think that many people—especially those who had enabled the 1-click option—bought the book for the regular price, just because they didn’t double-check the price before clicking on the Buy with 1-click button.

Regarding international markets, Kindle Daily Deal must have worked very well for Amazon; within the year, similar deals were launched in every Kindle Store:

Availability can be considered in view of what kind of trigger Amazon expects from Kindle Daily Deal. Amazon doesn’t want users to check KDD books every day. It wants users to come to the site. That’s why passive ways of learning about KDD are not what Amazon prefers. You can subscribe by email, or you can follow the Amazon Kindle Twitter profile, or you can stick to the Facebook page. But no official RSS feed is available.

As for the future, I hope the second section of the Kindle Daily Deal page, called Kindle Kids Daily Deal, which was added just a couple of days ago, will become a part of daily e-book deals from Amazon, and not end with 14 Days of Kindle Book Deals for Kids and Teens, where it originally belonged.

I also hope bestsellers will be featured on Kindle Daily Deal more often. Having ‘just another book’ there is not enough to get the right response. We have to take into consideration the time and wear-out effect. Kindle Daily Deal is one year old and in most cases it was not so attractive, after all. If it’s meant to bring people to the website, more attractive books have to be featured. The good examples are sets of books from one genre or from one author, or like a few days ago, the collection of 25 popular books, with Vonnegut and Mankell. It’s a good destination to go.

Seriously, I think Amazon should struggle with publishers to get better books on Kindle Daily Deal. Otherwise, it’ll turn into nothing more than the Kindle Daily Meal.

Originally posted on Ebook Friendly.

Piotr Kowalczyk
Founder of Ebook Friendly. Ebook enthusiast, technology geek, iPhone artist and self-published author from Poland. His short story collections were downloaded across the web more than 150,000 times.


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