Author Topic: How do people find free books on Amazon?  (Read 899 times)  

Offline Kathy Dee

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How do people find free books on Amazon?
« on: June 11, 2018, 02:58:41 AM »
It's pretty difficult isn't it?

1. Search

You can try typing something like 'subject books free' and such searches do usually include free books but the list is also very likely to contain many books that are not free. You can refine things by sorting on price rather than relevance, but even sorting on 'low to high' the top of the lists have many paid books. You can include the term $0 in the search, but again, you will not get a list of books that are all free.

2. Browse

You can go to the bestseller charts, navigate to your subject/genre of choice and then click the 'free books' link, but again, it's not that straightforward. On a Kindle device, you can fairly easily get access to the top 100 free, but what about beyond that? And what about when the user is not using a Kindle?

Of course, I understand that Amazon is not that interested in presenting free books to browsers when paid ones offer them a chance of making money. But for those people who want to find a free book on a particular subject in the Amazon store, how exactly are they supposed to do it?
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Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 03:03:17 AM »
1. Open the product page for a book I enjoyed
2. Look for the sales ranking links (e.g. Science Fiction > Space Opera)
3. Click the right-most link, e.g. Space Opera, Parodies, etc
4. Switch to the TOP 100 FREE bestseller list.
5. Have at it.


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Offline Kathy Dee

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 03:22:00 AM »
1. Open the product page for a book I enjoyed
2. Look for the sales ranking links (e.g. Science Fiction > Space Opera)
3. Click the right-most link, e.g. Space Opera, Parodies, etc
4. Switch to the TOP 100 FREE bestseller list.
5. Have at it.

Like most authors, I am aware of that method too. But do you think the average reader does that? Possibly, I am not so sure.

I am trying to put myself mentally into the shoes of a potential buyer browsing or searching the Amazon store for a free book on a particular subject. How are they supposed to do that? I mean, how does Amazon expect them to do it?

I think it really is not very straightforward for the average customer.

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 03:25:11 AM »
Like most authors, I am aware of that method too. But do you think the average reader does that? Possibly, I am not so sure.

I am trying to put myself mentally into the shoes of a potential buyer browsing or searching the Amazon store for a free book on a particular subject. How are they supposed to do that? I mean, how does Amazon expect them to do it?

I think it really is not very straightforward for the average customer.



Not, it's not.

Methinks mostly they find the free books because someone (like, the author) tells them about it in some way.

Which is why we need things like websites, mailing lists, promotion lists and cross-promotions.

Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 03:30:33 AM »
I agree the amazon kindle bestseller list is next to impossible to find.

I would imagine the hundreds of thousands of people who subscribe to free book of the day or bargain book of the day emails don't bother searching Amazon for more - they're already being offered more than they can read.

I would say most freebies these days are discovered via facebook posts, ads, newsletters. Ie. the author promoting themselves.


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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 03:44:51 AM »
We used to have several readers who frequented the Writers' Cafe and would probably have been glad to answer this question but I think they've been made uncomfortable here and seldom post, which is unfortunate.  Maybe they'll see this and post.  :(

Based on my experience here since the site was established in 2007, new Kindle owners seek out free books.  And so probably have the free book list bookmarked and subscribe to various lists like BookBub.

Or, you can search the Kindle store and then sort by price. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st_price-asc-rank?keywords=mystery+and+suspense&fst=p90x%3A1&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3Amystery+and+suspense&qid=1528713573&sort=price-asc-rank  The Sort menu is in the upper right hand corner.

However, many long-time Kindle owners are kind of over the thrill of free books and don't search them out specifically.  We've downloaded so many books that we've become more selective.  I have 2400+ books in my Kindle library, most of them unread. I'm more likely to have added a book to eReaderIQ and pick it up when the price drops, or be looking up an author I already know I like and grab any books that are free or on sale for a low price.  Or notice a freebie by an author I'm interested in in one of the newsletters I subscribe to, although I don't look at those all the time--as I said, I already have a library of unread books on my Kindle.

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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 03:47:19 AM »
I should add that, because I've got so many books on my Kindle, by the time I read something, I've forgotten whether it was free or paid for.

And, of course, the other big way readers find free books to read is through Kindle Unlimited.

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Offline notjohn

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 03:52:01 AM »
I think that most freebies are downloaded by people who subscribe to or visit the many sites that specialize in Freebie Of The Day. At one point there were so many, and they were costing Amazon so much in referral fees, that it changed the terms of its Associate program to weed some of them out. (They make nothing on the freebies, of course, but Amazon plants a 24-hour cookie on the customer's computer, so any further purchase used to earn a 6-7 percent commission.)

These people don't ever buy books. They'll download a dozen and find one that seems interesting. Then they'll go back and download another dozen.

In the immortal words of Cole Porter:

Never give anything away, away, away
That you can sell.
Ev'ry night, ev'ry day,
Try to remember, ma belle,
Never give anything away, away, away
That you can sell.
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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 04:35:56 AM »
And yet...

I now buy every book that comes out by a few KB author members because I tried their books for free.

Yes, there are some readers that only seek out free books.  I don't think that there are as many (out of the ebook reader population) as you might think.

It's just like having books in libraries doesn't hurt Lee Child's or Nora Robert's book sales--both of whom I discovered at the library and then went on to buy every book they published (well, in Nora Roberts case, her JD Robb series).

It's harder to find indie books in libraries, so the freebie is the best lead available.

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Offline Kathy Dee

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 04:38:30 AM »
In the immortal words of Cole Porter:

Never give anything away, away, away
That you can sell.
Ev'ry night, ev'ry day,
Try to remember, ma belle,
Never give anything away, away, away
That you can sell.

Interesting ... but then, perhaps Cole Porter was a better songwriter than he was an ebook marketer ;)
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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 04:56:09 AM »
Have you ever tried reading only free books?

It's an exercise in repeatedly banging your head against the wall. You get extremely sick of reading only first books in series, including all the ones that end in cliffhangers.

Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2018, 05:09:55 AM »
I agree - it would be like watching the first episode of hundreds of TV shows and never springing for a box set to binge on.

I like browsing episodes on Netflix, and I usually pick older shows where there are lots of eps over several seasons. If I find a good one, I know I'm set for a while.


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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2018, 06:03:44 AM »
Have you ever tried reading only free books?

It's an exercise in repeatedly banging your head against the wall. You get extremely sick of reading only first books in series, including all the ones that end in cliffhangers.

I agree - it would be like watching the first episode of hundreds of TV shows and never springing for a box set to binge on.

I like browsing episodes on Netflix, and I usually pick older shows where there are lots of eps over several seasons. If I find a good one, I know I'm set for a while.


Exactly. Plus, one finds very quickly if downloading tons of free books that a lot of them aren't worth reading. (Present company excepted.)  Which is why long time Kindle owners have become more selective.

And, while people who only read free books exist...they're not your audience.  They're unlikely to buy one of your books to try--and they won't buy any of the other ones even if they download a freebie--as they only read free books.  So you don't have to think about them.  The target is the people who are looking to test drive a new author...like me!  We do buy.  I've paid for most of the books in my library, in a whole range of prices.

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Offline levz

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2018, 06:15:05 AM »
I'm more likely to have added a book to eReaderIQ and pick it up when the price drops, or be looking up an author I already know I like and grab any books that are free or on sale for a low price. 
Betsy

Thanks for mentioning this.  I hadn't heard of eReaderIQ and didn't know you could track price drops for books you were interested in.

Interesting ... but then, perhaps Cole Porter was a better songwriter than he was an ebook marketer ;)

Good one.    :)

Offline Pandorra

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2018, 06:18:54 AM »
I don't look specifically for free books when I am looking for a good read, I just look in the genre and category I want and they are mixed in with the others, the price is usually the last thing I see, my goal is to find something that appeals to me at that moment... though sometimes I do just browse KU titles when my subscription is active.
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Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2018, 02:07:59 AM »
I think that most freebies are downloaded by people who subscribe to or visit the many sites that specialize in Freebie Of The Day. At one point there were so many, and they were costing Amazon so much in referral fees, that it changed the terms of its Associate program to weed some of them out. (They make nothing on the freebies, of course, but Amazon plants a 24-hour cookie on the customer's computer, so any further purchase used to earn a 6-7 percent commission.)

These people don't ever buy books. They'll download a dozen and find one that seems interesting. Then they'll go back and download another dozen.



Just thought I'd share a portion of a review that landed on one of my titles yesterday, because the timing is perfect:

I never pay for Kindle books but after reading the free volume 1, I was hooked and bought the next 5 books in the series.

The rest of the review, along with the date posted, is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3IWIM9JCB2ONS/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B008MIM91A

This isn't a one-off. Perma-free works fine for me, and I see no reason to stop.



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Offline Kathy Dee

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2018, 08:15:17 AM »
I never pay for Kindle books but after reading the free volume 1, I was hooked and bought the next 5 books in the series.

This isn't a one-off. Perma-free works fine for me, and I see no reason to stop.

Well done Simon.

Works for me too :)
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Offline AnnaB

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2018, 12:05:46 PM »
I sometime take a look at a couple third-party websites that I found fairly good at narrowing down which categories I was or wasn't interested in. Though some men-chest stuff that obviously must not have been properly tagged as romance/erotica has tended to creep in sometime >:(

http://uk.freereadfeed.com/
https://www.ereaderiq.com/

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2018, 03:34:14 PM »
I never knew about "Freebie Of The Day." I'll have to check it out. I recently downloaded a free book, but I only heard about it because I follow the author on Twitter.

Offline Kay Camden

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2018, 07:10:02 PM »
I agree that most people probably find them from other sources. Bookbub and similar sites, word of mouth, social media, etc.

I also agree that most Kindle readers are swimming in free books. And often you get what you pay for. Sometimes not, but I've been let down by so many free books I have very low expectations when I start one.

Thanks for mentioning this.  I hadn't heard of eReaderIQ and didn't know you could track price drops for books you were interested in.

Good one.    :)

OMG I am such an eReaderIQ junkie. It's such a great service. I add every book I'm on the fence about trying, especially the tradpub ones that are priced high. I donate too, because it's so useful to me. Once you have a giant watch list like I do, you'll get a price drop email so often you'll never run out of books to read.
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Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2018, 10:58:04 PM »
Well done Simon.

Works for me too :)

Hopefully that same reader will go off and buy lots more books from lots of other authors. We just need to train our audience one member at a time.


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Re: How do people find free books on Amazon?
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2018, 07:01:54 AM »
I will say that as a reader I didn't even know there were free books before I saw it here. I had been using KU to slog through the mess and try to find books to read.

The top 100 free is ok but the books  don't change as often as I would like to find new reading material. That said I was able to find an amazing author and kill my monthly reading budget.

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