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I'm pondering a notion where we set up a sub-board, a kind of "ebooks for review" area, where authors would make available free copies of their (normally non-free) ebook for readers interested in reading and reviewing.

I'd be interested in any advice or suggestions you might have on it from an author's perspective.

Some starter questions:
- How is it best logistically to give an ebook to an interested reader?
- If a book is "gifted," does it still show on an Amazon review as a Verified Purchase?
- ...and more

Thanks!

-Harvey

PS I'm setting up a similar thread to get thoughts from our readers on this, in the Book Corner: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,166955.0.html
 

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It's not a verified purchase from the author.  Typically when we gift books (that we want to count as sales) we have other people do it for us. But I'd bet the preferred method would be to just send them a mobi file and have them side load it. takes like two seconds.
 

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Sounds interesting, Harvey. I will say that people in the UK cannot 'gift' their books like people can in the US. Unsure if this is the same in other non-US countries.
 

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We may want to have it not be a strictly one-for-one exchange, as that puts pressure on people to feel like they have to give a good review to get a good review. We should probably also break out the available books by genre so reviewers know what they're getting - some may be open to trying new genres, some may not be.
 

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I think it's a great idea. I've seen somewhere (don't remember where, sorry) where points are awarded when a review is  posted to encourage people to actually leave a review after reading the book. Not sure what the points could be used for. Maybe just as a way for authors to choose who they want to give their book to. (A reviewer with a lot of points would probably be more likely to leave a review?)
 

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I think it's a good idea, but I think it needs to be stressed it's not a review exchange.

And I personally would prefer to email mobi files and let the reviewer sideload, but I know others prefer to gift. So I think that should be up to the author (and then the reviewer can choose not to review those that they dislike the delivery method).
 

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um, hate to be the only nay sayer, but having seen the reactions on this particular part of the forum to reviews that are less than perfectly glowing- I think it might be setting up a massive source of conflict.  Maybe if there was a way it could be totally anonymous, as in, the mods sent out the actual files (which would mean massively more work for you) or it was self serve sort of (like a smashwords code in the members only area or something), I think it's going to cause a LOT of fights and heartache.  I like it here.  I don't want the boards to implode :(
 

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dkgould said:
um, hate to be the only nay sayer, but having seen the reactions on this particular part of the forum to reviews that are less than perfectly glowing- I think it might be setting up a massive source of conflict. Maybe if there was a way it could be totally anonymous, as in, the mods sent out the actual files (which would mean massively more work for you) or it was self serve sort of (like a smashwords code in the members only area or something), I think it's going to cause a LOT of fights and heartache. I like it here. I don't want the boards to implode :(
Yeah, that's a good point. :(

I would send an ePub or mobi file to interested people who state an interest for the genre.
However, I've done giveaways in other places where it's specifically stated that readers are expected to post reviews and have not seen terribly good results. For some, this would simply be another place to get free books.

However, anything that would let your visitors know how much we welcome thoughtful reviews is appreciated Harvey.
 
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dkgould said:
um, hate to be the only nay sayer, but having seen the reactions on this particular part of the forum to reviews that are less than perfectly glowing- I think it might be setting up a massive source of conflict. Maybe if there was a way it could be totally anonymous, as in, the mods sent out the actual files (which would mean massively more work for you) or it was self serve sort of (like a smashwords code in the members only area or something), I think it's going to cause a LOT of fights and heartache. I like it here. I don't want the boards to implode :(
I think this is a huge concern. I don't want to make the mods job harder by causing flame wars over reviews.

A few random points:

Gifting is a bad idea. When you gift a book, you don't send the book to the person. You send them a gift certificate for the amount of the book. This certificate can be used for anything, not just the book. There are already huge scams where people request review copies from dozen of authors in order to mooch money this way. You would think that is too much effort to steal a dollar or two, but consider if someone gets a hundred authors to "gift" a book for $2.99 each...

I know on the forum I run for the virtual book fair, there is a way to set up threads so that attachments can be posted to the thread, but downloading is restricted to groups. I was able to restrict the types of files that could be uploaded and the size of the files, as well as where files could be uploaded. For 100% anonymity, you could have readers actually "sign up" to get access to review books and put them in a forum group that has permission to download attachments. Then the author would simply upload the mobi file directly to their review request and could take it down after a certain number of downloads. I know when I did this on the efestival forum, I could see how many times a file was downloaded. This would give the author the ability to limit somewhat the number of times the file was downloaded by simply removing the file from the request.

You would probably want authors to also register for the privileged to make files available. This would limit who could upload files and, if someone abuses the system, take away the privilege easily.
 

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dkgould said:
um, hate to be the only nay sayer, but having seen the reactions on this particular part of the forum to reviews that are less than perfectly glowing- I think it might be setting up a massive source of conflict. Maybe if there was a way it could be totally anonymous, as in, the mods sent out the actual files (which would mean massively more work for you) or it was self serve sort of (like a smashwords code in the members only area or something), I think it's going to cause a LOT of fights and heartache. I like it here. I don't want the boards to implode :(
I sorta agree. I would actually never do this. I refuse to even use NetGalley. I like to control who reviews my book before release day and after release day, I don't ever ask for reviews. But new authors have to start somewhere.

A big indie author friend of mine is in the process of setting up a "net galley" site for indies right now. She's got the website being built and taking sign-ups. Authors would have total control over who they give the books to and reviewers would be required to provide lots of proof of who they are and what their reach is in the book world.

I'll probably participate in that, but nothing anonymous. Never, ever would I do that.
 

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JanneCO said:
Authors would have total control over who they give the books to
Um...I use NetGalley. I already have total control over who I choose to give my books to. I don't simply approve every request. I vet them and make a lot of declines, actually.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
Um...I use NetGalley. I already have total control over who I choose to give my books to. I don't simply approve every request. I vet them and make a lot of declines, actually.
This is free. :) That's the difference.
 

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I'll jump in and say that it is a good idea, probably workable, but at the end of the day it's not what KBoards is about - I'm here to make friends not lose them  :-X :)
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I think this is a huge concern. I don't want to make the mods job harder by causing flame wars over reviews.

A few random points:

Gifting is a bad idea. When you gift a book, you don't send the book to the person. You send them a gift certificate for the amount of the book. This certificate can be used for anything, not just the book. There are already huge scams where people request review copies from dozen of authors in order to mooch money this way. You would think that is too much effort to steal a dollar or two, but consider if someone gets a hundred authors to "gift" a book for $2.99 each...

I know on the forum I run for the virtual book fair, there is a way to set up threads so that attachments can be posted to the thread, but downloading is restricted to groups. I was able to restrict the types of files that could be uploaded and the size of the files, as well as where files could be uploaded. For 100% anonymity, you could have readers actually "sign up" to get access to review books and put them in a forum group that has permission to download attachments. Then the author would simply upload the mobi file directly to their review request and could take it down after a certain number of downloads. I know when I did this on the efestival forum, I could see how many times a file was downloaded. This would give the author the ability to limit somewhat the number of times the file was downloaded by simply removing the file from the request.

You would probably want authors to also register for the privileged to make files available. This would limit who could upload files and, if someone abuses the system, take away the privilege easily.
I love these suggestions. They keep it anonymous and give Harvey and the mods the ability to take away privileges without having to do a lot of work after it is set up. I agree that keeping things anonymous is key to keeping this on the up and up, so far as accusations of review fraud go.
 

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I don't think this is a particularly wise thing to do, either. Considering the comments that have been made about reviews on here and the backlash, ehh, I don't see this being a good thing. :) For me personally, I don't care, as I prefer to get reviews from book bloggers and review sites, or from readers who just decide to review on their own after buying my work. So, my mentionin that it doesn't sound wise is simply from seeing those threads I mentioned.I think it will create battles.
 
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