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Author Topic: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,  (Read 70050 times)  

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #350 on: December 05, 2013, 09:09:46 AM »
Results:
  • From 22 downloads to over 9800 this morning
  • Books 2 and 3 in the series have had a small number of purchases
  • The free book has had two sales. I don't know how that happened. It's a perma-free
  • #1 in the book's genre
  • #13 in the free books listing
Click "On the Street Where You Die" in my signature if you care to follow the progress. I'll post later if this promotion has any notable consequences.

« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 09:11:38 AM by Al Stevens »

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #351 on: December 05, 2013, 09:19:54 AM »
It might be interesting for subscribers to this service to track their "Also Bought" list to see if there are other kboards members there who have confessed to having subscribed to this service.

Online Monique

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #352 on: December 05, 2013, 09:23:35 AM »
The first four books in my ABs have changed. Assuming they all used this service because a) I recongnize two as the other testers and b) the other two have zero relationship to my book/genre. This is a definite downside to using an unfocused service.

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Online Al Stevens

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #353 on: December 05, 2013, 09:40:35 AM »
I think I see a flaw in this scheme. How does the service provider know how many downloads a book gets? That information is available to the KDP account in the Reports section, but others shouldn't be able to see my reports. What prevents an unscrupulous author from claiming he or she didn't hit the guaranteed number of downloads. If this service uses a list of real amazon customers, how do they know how many of them downloaded which books?

Is this an aha moment?


Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #354 on: December 05, 2013, 09:44:09 AM »
I think I see a flaw in this scheme. How does the service provider know how many downloads a book gets? That information is available to the KDP account in the Reports section, but others shouldn't be able to see my reports. What prevents an unscrupulous author from claiming he or she didn't hit the guaranteed number of downloads. If this service uses a list of real amazon customers, how do they know how many of them downloaded which books?

Is this an aha moment?



Yes you are having an aha moment.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

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Online valeriec80

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #355 on: December 05, 2013, 10:21:56 AM »
Well, I'm still watching these promos.

OJ Connell's second short story is currently ranked at #26,000.

I watched J.L. Bryan's Jenny Pox Bookbub ad several weeks ago, and Tommy Nightmare was hitting about that the second day, which I thought was kind of crap for Bookbub. (YA category)

Lisa Grace, you've got a paranormal YA. I'm watching that.

While Amazon may not like services like this (I don't think they're fond of Bookbub), I'm not sure what they can do to do stop them. Some of you have mentioned that Amazon would ban authors who used them. But this doesn't seem to me like an effective way to stop the service. Possibly word would spread that Amazon banned people who used a certain service and that might deter people from using it. But there are so, so many authors using KDP. This seems unlikely to actually make a dent. So, it would be punishment, but it wouldn't be productive. Also, I rather think Amazon would issue a warning first. They do issue warnings for everything else, including possibly copyright infringement and other such things. It seems to me that Amazon's hands are tied. Can they disable the accounts of the 10,000 people downloading these freebies? Can they stop the guy from running his service?

Is Amazon too busy selling toasters and groceries to even care about books?

Finally, I think that ethics in regards to selling entertainment is a very slippery slope. We all want our products to rise on merit alone, but we all know that merit is a-subjective and b-impossible to measure. In truth, we are not competing to see which books are "better," but rather which books people want. We also know that people cannot want what they cannot see. Therefore, we are all engaged in activities to try to make people see our books. But when we apply ethics to this equation, what we are saying is that we don't want things "undeserving" of popularity to become popular because they were given "unfair" visibility. If this is a possibility, then we all realize that we are basically just marketing to a fickle mass of easily led drones. If we don't think readers are that idiotic, then we must believe that they do have some capability to pick out the "deserving" from the "undeserving." But then we have to believe that "good" rises to the top. Which isn't necessarily true. And anyway, there's no way to define "good."

Man, I just confused myself.

Here's my question, I suppose. I can pay money to Bookbub to get people who will download my book and say to themselves, "Hmm... that's free. I might read that." But then never do read it. Or I can pay money for a bunch of people to download my book and say, "I'm never going to read that. I'm doing this for some totally different reason." And they never read it. So, are these two things so qualitatively different, really? Does the intention of the downloader really change the ethics?

Like I said. Musing.

Online Crime fighters

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #356 on: December 05, 2013, 10:35:18 AM »

Here's my question, I suppose. I can pay money to Bookbub to get people who will download my book and say to themselves, "Hmm... that's free. I might read that." But then never do read it. Or I can pay money for a bunch of people to download my book and say, "I'm never going to read that. I'm doing this for some totally different reason." And they never read it. So, are these two things so qualitatively different, really? Does the intention of the downloader really change the ethics?

Like I said. Musing.

Yes, it certainly changes the ethics. Through a bookbub ad you are rising through the ranks with people who are actually interested. Everyone on that list has had to do it the hard way and it isn't fair for those who got there on their own to be pushed down the list by non-readers. You didn't say it but someone else did, that publishers have been buying lists forever. That might be true but two wrongs don't make a right.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #357 on: December 05, 2013, 10:37:02 AM »
I heart you K.B. Parker...in a non-creepy, platonic, bromancely kinda way.

I'm taking life partner applications on my site, free love service dot com.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #358 on: December 05, 2013, 10:55:13 AM »

<snip>
Here's my question, I suppose. I can pay money to Bookbub to get people who will download my book and say to themselves, "Hmm... that's free. I might read that." But then never do read it. Or I can pay money for a bunch of people to download my book and say, "I'm never going to read that. I'm doing this for some totally different reason." And they never read it. So, are these two things so qualitatively different, really? Does the intention of the downloader really change the ethics?

Like I said. Musing.

Personally, if I download a book, I intend to read it.  That's what readers do, we buy/download things we're interested in reading. 

Online valeriec80

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #359 on: December 05, 2013, 10:57:25 AM »
Yes, it certainly changes the ethics. Through a bookbub ad you are rising through the ranks with people who are actually interested. Everyone on that list has had to do it the hard way and it isn't fair for those who got there on their own to be pushed down the list by non-readers. You didn't say it but someone else did, that publishers have been buying lists forever. That might be true but two wrongs don't make a right.

Well, yeah. But as I was saying earlier, there's no way for this business to be fair.

Like, if you and I were both selling vacuum cleaners, and mine was faulty, and I paid a bunch of people to buy mine so that it appeared higher on an Amazon list, people would be upset, because they had purchased a faulty vacuum cleaner.

But a faulty ebook? We can make some attempts at trying find standards with books. Formatting. Typographical and grammatical errors. But once you get into the content, it's all just a huge morass, you know? There's no way to qualitatively say that one book is better than another.

So, if that's true, then it's not as if some books are more deserving of visibility than others.

Look, we don't really know why people buy some books and not other books. But we do know that people buy books that are visible more often than books that aren't. Now, what bookbub does is give books that have had some visibility more visibility. The reason I say this is because a bookbub ad is generally only given to books that have had a certain level of success--basically you can tell this by reviews. The more a book has been read, more reviews it has. So, a book has to have done well to even get on bookbub. But I don't think that necessarily means that book is "better" or more deserving. I've written a lot of books. Some of my books are pretty good. Some are less good. By my own opinion. But the books that I think are good are not necessarily the books that sell well. I've run bookbub ads for some of my books, but they've also denied other ones. Was that because one book was better than the other? I don't know. Probably not.

Since we can't apply a merit scale to ebooks, it is impossible to say that it's more "fair" for one book to get a bookbub ad than another. And it's also not necessarily "fair" that one book get more visibility than another.

This is not to say that I'm saying the service offered here is ethical, per se.

If I were going to argue its unethicality, however, I'd probably look more at the way the guy is making a profit. Is he getting a lot of money for doing very little work? (Which may not be unethical in and of itself. I mean, look at baseball players. Look at Thomas freaking Harris. He's written less than ten books. Wildly successful. Every book he writes gets made into a successful movie. Grr.) Is he making a lot of money and not providing a worthwhile service? (Scamming people, essentially) Those kinds of things.

Online Monique

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #360 on: December 05, 2013, 11:05:04 AM »
Everything else aside...The alsobots are a big downside to this service. And, I suppose, if someone were so inclined, they could follow the breadcrumbs and see who has used the service.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #361 on: December 05, 2013, 11:16:41 AM »
Personally, if I download a book, I intend to read it.  That's what readers do, we buy/download things we're interested in reading. 

Agreed.  I don't automatically pick up everything BookBub promos each day. . . . in fact only about once a week, or less often, does something catch my eye.  So if I choose to download, I intend to read it at some point.  Not saying it's going to be NOW. . . but I will get to it.

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Online Becca Mills

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #362 on: December 05, 2013, 11:16:53 AM »
I debated posting this, but yeah. I think I should.

<snip>

Thank you, David. I appreciate your research and find your reasoning about permafree very convincing. Would you consider sending your info to Jeff Bezos? Someone on KB will have his email address or that of an Amazon higher-up.

To all: Losing the ability to go permafree, should this kind of service proliferate, would be devastating. Maybe if we appear to be working with Amazon responsibly, rather than gaming their system until it actually starts compromising its function and costing them noticeably, they won't begin enforcing the TOS to the letter of the law.

According to the TOS we've all agreed to, permafree should not be possible because you're not allowed to set your price lower on another site than it is on Amazon, and when I set my book to $0.00 on B&N and elsewhere while it was still $3.99 on Amazon, that's just what I was doing. So far, Amazon has decided that permafree is an exception they'll allow, probably because they think it increases sales overall by creating "gateway books" that get readers "addicted" to a series or an author. But David's post is a good reminder that Amazon's margins are small, and it wouldn't take much abuse of the free-book system to make it a financial minus. Select enables Amazon to dangle plenty of free books in front of customers. They don't need permafree.

Plus, as I've mentioned before, Amazon is clearly sensitive to suggestions that its system is gamed/compromised. Cf. their sudden and draconian reaction to the fake-review scandal. If they figure out their very visible best-seller lists are being manipulated far more directly ... well, that's some seriously bad PR for them. To the many non-authors who won't bother trying to understand the mechanism fully, it's going to sound like Amazon got hacked by greedy self-publishers. Amazon is going to feel they have to Do Something, and whatever they do, we're not going to like it.

In the meantime, I hope KBers do not use this service. I think it's foolish to risk your own reputation; your also-boughts; and, communitywide, a powerful tool like permafree just to make the small profit you're likely to end up with after paying freebooksservice's exorbitant rates. If you even break even. Those first 10K downloaders are not going to be downloading anything else -- that's been pretty well established by this thread. So, if you pay $300+ (prices went up today, right?) for 10,000 downloads and end up with 14,000, what you've actually done is pay $300+ to introduce your book to 4,000 potential readers. Just. Not. Worth it.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #363 on: December 05, 2013, 11:42:25 AM »
Just noting that once all 3 guinea pig books hit their 10,000 DLs, they leap-frogged our BB-backed freebie in the ranks, which was around #9 at the time. Getting ousted by bots/whatever and watching it happen in real time? Not fun, I'll assure you.

I'll leave this tidbit regarding how Amazon combats even legit models such as BookBub when it comes to influencing ranks long-term. It seems downloads and sales that originate with BookBub are flagged and are not counted in the algos that determine later poplist placement. The throttling happens, not on the front end, but the back end. (This is partly why folk say Select doesn't work any longer - but it isn't that reader behavior is changing or that BookBub is any less effective in delivering results; it's Amazon attempting to squelch long-term influences on its ranks.)

If Amazon is aware of this FBS service (which, yeah, if they weren't before, they will be now), they may also throttle via excluding those 10,000 downloads from their visibility algos (which influence their recommendation algos).

So you wind up buying only short-term visibility without benefit of long-term results. You may get 10,000 downloads, but you still may not be getting what you think you paid for.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #364 on: December 05, 2013, 12:01:48 PM »
Here's the response from KDP that I just received. While not as in depth as the questions I asked, it seems pretty obvious they do not support it and are already looking into it.

Quote
Hello,

Thank you for reaching out to KDP Support.

We recommend that the rankings represent genuine interest and downloads from customers and manipulating the free sales or ranking is not advisable and urge our publisher's to desist from such practices. I appreciate that you contacted us instead of opting for such means to increase the ranking.

I've also passed this information to the appropriate team to look into this.

I understand that you'd like your book(s) to gain more visibility and have a wider reach. You can find some helpful tips for marketing and promoting your books:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A37SMD4NYVZDI7

https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-2011

Also, social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are easy, free ways to advertise your book and connect with readers.

Sad that they couldn't give more details, I guess I could email them back and try again, but I imagine the response will be similar.

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #365 on: December 05, 2013, 12:11:16 PM »
Amazon doesn't like Bookbubs? Bookbubs is one of the Sponsored Links at the bottom of Amazon's search page when you search for free books. And the sponsored link takes you to Bookbub.




Offline dalya

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #366 on: December 05, 2013, 12:13:27 PM »
EDIT : sorry, I overreacted!!

Goes back to popcorn and caffeine withdrawal.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 01:00:42 PM by Dalya »

Offline Adam Poe

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #367 on: December 05, 2013, 12:16:04 PM »
Amazon doesn't like Bookbubs? Bookbubs is one of the Sponsored Links at the bottom of Amazon's search page when you search for free books. And the sponsored link takes you to Bookbub.

I think it is because, in at least some part due to these type of promotional sites, that Amazon has changed how free downloads impact rank. A huge burst of 10k downloads in a single 24 hour period will get you had in the ranks...but for a very small amount of time. The algos are hidden, but a lot of us believe they have been tweaked to reward steady downloads/growth. Consistency will get you a lot more visibility on Amazon itself than just a couple days of mass downloads that dwindle back into nothing.

Online Crime fighters

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #368 on: December 05, 2013, 12:29:47 PM »
Holy [crap]! You're inciting a witch hunt? What about the people who just had freebie days scheduled for that day? It's one thing to take the high road, or to eat popcorn and enjoy the show, but going after people is not the high road.

I think you misread the post. He said see if other members who have confessed to using this service to see if they all have the same also-bots. If that's the case then that would mean each downloader was downloading multiple books and again, because it's worth pointing out, across genres.


Offline freebookservice

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #369 on: December 05, 2013, 12:31:00 PM »
I think it is because, in at least some part due to these type of promotional sites, that Amazon has changed how free downloads impact rank. A huge burst of 10k downloads in a single 24 hour period will get you had in the ranks...but for a very small amount of time. The algos are hidden, but a lot of us believe they have been tweaked to reward steady downloads/growth. Consistency will get you a lot more visibility on Amazon itself than just a couple days of mass downloads that dwindle back into nothing.

Your comment never pointed out that Estelles book is still #30 in the store, interesting thoughts on algos though.


Holy [crap]! You're inciting a witch hunt? What about the people who just had freebie days scheduled for that day? It's one thing to take the high road, or to eat popcorn and enjoy the show, but going after people is not the high road.

Yes its apparent the pitchforks will stay out no matter what. I think I wore out my welcome by the third page, and we are going on 16 pages by now.

I suppose I should say thanks for the continued bumps though, it allows many people to read the thread and decide for themselves what they want to do. 8760 thread views!


Putting aside how the lists were acquired, the lack of segmentation has led to some not-so-helpful alsobots.

There is some segmentation but, on the largest packages I need to promote as much as possible to hit the numbers and not have to process refunds (not hitting the guarantee)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 12:38:32 PM by freebookservice »
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Online Monique

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #370 on: December 05, 2013, 12:32:10 PM »
Putting aside how the lists were acquired, the lack of segmentation has led to some not-so-helpful alsobots.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #371 on: December 05, 2013, 12:35:46 PM »
Amazon doesn't like Bookbubs? Bookbubs is one of the Sponsored Links at the bottom of Amazon's search page when you search for free books. And the sponsored link takes you to Bookbub.

Sponsored doesn't mean they are endorsed. Just that the company has paid to have the links there. Like the banners at the bottom of the KB pages.

Still, never said Amazon doesn't like BB. I'm betting they LOVE BB. I just said it appears Amazon has taken steps to mitigate the long-term influence that BB was having on its poplists. And I have a hunch they're working closely together to come up with compromise policies to ensure no undue influence on other Amazon lists as well.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #372 on: December 05, 2013, 12:39:11 PM »
Yes its apparent the pitchforks will stay out no matter what. I think I wore out my welcome by the third page, and we are going on 16 pages by now.

I don't know what to tell you except maybe you should expect 'pitchforks' when you are asking people to fork over $300. You've already sold over 300 of these packages (according to you). That is up to 3,000,000 non-reader downloads. If you think what you're experiencing here is hostile you wait until Amazon catches up to you.

I don't expect you to answer my questions because of my perceived hostility but there have been numerous realistic questions asked in this thread and you have skirted around each and every one. The wonderful folks over at Warrior Forum may take you on your word but you stumbled upon one of the most serious forums for self published authors. We take what we do seriously and you shouldn't expect it to be as simple as sharing your service and cashing in.

Besides if you're not paying candy crush users to download these books (which would cost), you've already ran away with what, $60,000. In less than a month?

And despite your claims, I don't believe your an author.So you wouldn't care if the integrity of authors careers become jeapordized. When the cards fall (and they will) you can just take your money and run with no regard for the potential fallout.

I'm going to leave this post with something you said; do you forget that there are other people on the other side of the screen? I would wager that you do know and I would also wager that you don't care. You're another hundred customers away from buying that porsche you've always dreamed about.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 12:41:49 PM by K.B. Parker »

Offline freebookservice

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #373 on: December 05, 2013, 12:51:01 PM »
I don't know what to tell you except maybe you should expect 'pitchforks' when you are asking people to fork over $300. You've already sold over 300 of these packages (according to you). That is up to 3,000,000 non-reader downloads. If you think what you're experiencing here is hostile you wait until Amazon catches up to you.

I don't expect you to answer my questions because of my perceived hostility but there have been numerous realistic questions asked in this thread and you have skirted around each and every one. The wonderful folks over at Warrior Forum may take you on your word but you stumbled upon one of the most serious forums for self published authors. We take what we do seriously and you shouldn't expect it to be as simple as sharing your service and cashing in.

Besides if you're not paying candy crush users to download these books (which would cost), you've already ran away with what, $60,000. In less than a month?

And despite your claims, I don't believe your an author.So you wouldn't care if the integrity of authors careers become jeapordized. When the cards fall (and they will) you can just take your money and run with no regard for the potential fallout.

I'm going to leave this post with something you said; do you forget that there are other people on the other side of the screen? I would wager that you do know and I would also wager that you don't care. You're another hundred customers away from buying that porsche you've always dreamed about.

I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.
Our website is Freebookservice.com and our email is freebooksservice@gmail.com

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #374 on: December 05, 2013, 12:54:09 PM »
I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.
I am going to assume some of those are repeat clients. 
200 times 300 is 60,000.   That is for a 1 time purchase.   Yep that is pretty good money even after costs. 
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