e-booksThe New York Times ran a great story over the weekend about the phenomenon of the ‘daily deal.’ Both Nook and Amazon have one—a single book (or a handful of books) promoted at a special discount just for the day.

The article points out that many customers are accustomed to such sales from other retail sites they visit. Dominique Raccah, the CEO of Sourcebooks, calls it the ‘Groupon of books.’ And its purpose is not, as some authors would tell you, to bring about the devaluing of the book. Its purpose is to help combat the discoverability problem authors also complain about.

From the article:

“Consumers are flocking to flash sales, said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president for Kindle content, because the deals whittle down the vast number of choices for reading and other forms of entertainment.”

Daily deals can also provide a huge bump in sales, both for backlist titles by established authors (Dennis Lehane saw his sales of Gone, Baby Gone jump from 23 to over 13,000) and for newbies trying to gain a market share. One author cited in the story saw her Christian crime novel jump from obscurity all the way to a New York Times best-seller on the strength of its promotion as a Nook daily find. And the ripple effect of such prominence often keeps the book—and others by the author—selling better even after the promotion is done.

One tiny detail the article fails to mention is how the books get chosen. It’s fine for Dennis Lehane or Stephen King to have an agent who might help him negotiate such things, but how can an indie author get their book chosen for this special standout promotion? I have no idea. And I suspect Amazon would not want to publicize the process too much more, lest they be inundated with requests from self-publishers.


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.