A question for you on the Freebie Flashes

A question for you on the Freebie Flashes

One of my readers, Rick, reasonably pointed out that it would be helpful in the Freebie Flashes (where I link people to free promotional titles from the Kindle store) if I provided a short description of each one.

I agree. 🙂

I know that would make it easier for people, particularly in the case of people reading this blog on a Kindle (thank you, subscribers!).

As long time subscribers know, I used to describe each one, link to the author’s web page (where possible), link to the publisher, briefly describe the publisher, and so on.

What changed?

The main thing is that there are so many more freebies now. Take a look at how the numbers have changed:

Free books (without public domain)  

August 1, 2011: 1,046
July 1, 2011: 883
June 1, 2011: 707
May 1, 2011: 20,984
April 1, 2011: 17,832
March 1, 2011: 241
February 1, 2011: 240
January 1, 2011: 230
December 1, 2010: 183
November 1, 2010: 171
October 1, 2010: 161
September 1, 2010: 143
August 1, 2010: 621 (125 without Amazon Breakthrough nominees)
July 1, 2010: 599 (102 without Amazon Breakthrough nominees)
June 1, 2010: 559 (63 without Amazon Breakthrough nominees)
May 1, 2010: 556 (57 without Amazon Breakthrough nominees)
April 1, 2010: 560 (59 without Amazon Breakthrough nominees)
March 1, 2010: 67
February 1, 2010: 52
January 1, 2010: 53
December 1, 2009: 84
November 1, 2009: 64
October 1, 2009: 67

That makes it tough just to keep up!

Also, many of the freebies now are independently published stories, often shorts. That matters because I don’t know the book, much less the author…I often did know that with the tradpub (traditional publishers), which made it easier to write a summary.

Third, when Amazon dropped me (and everybody else in California) as an Associate, that took away a tool I was using to make the links. Without it, I think it has increased how much time it takes me to do each link. It isn’t really a factor that when you click on the freebie, I don’t get anything from Amazon for it any more. It used to help me get to another tier of referral fee (that was based on total items, and it included freebies), but that was never a huge driving factor for me….the money I do get this is from subscriptions, and I feel better about that.

So, those are three reasons that putting in more description is much harder and time consuming than it used to be for me.

I have had people tell me the like the Freebie Flashes, and honestly, there are a couple of reasons that I like doing them myself. One thing is that I order the books for our account at that time..I’d be going through them all anyway. The other one is, well, they require less intellectual effort. Not less time, necessarily, but it can be done without as much thought. I had a situation recently where I had some dental pain (I’ve been to the dentist…seems to be okay), and couldn’t concentrate all that well. The Freebie Flash let me get a fresh post out to you, even when I was somewhat distracted. 🙂

I see three main ways to proceed:

  1. Continue the way I’m going…basically, just link to the books, including the author and the publisher (or telling you it is independent)
  2. List fewer books, but with more information
  3. Stop doing the Freebie Flashes
The last one might seem drastic, but if it’s not valuable enough the way it is, I want to know that. I know there are alternative ways to get the information. I know that some people copy the descriptions from the Amazon product page (personally, I don’t think that’s appropriate without getting permission…although my guess is the publishers wouldn’t mind).
I always like to know you think, so I’m going to ask you:
Oh, and full disclosure, but I think you all know this. I don’t list every single free promotional title from the Kindle store…the big thing is that I don’t list them if they block text-to-speech. That’s become much rarer, though…that’s for another post. 🙂
Feel free to tell me what you think…it will help me decide what to do, and I appreciate that.

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal: Food, Inc. by Karl Weber for $1.49.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

7 Responses to “A question for you on the Freebie Flashes”

  1. Magno K. Nardin Says:

    I love this links 🙂

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Magno!

      Thanks for letting me know…that helps. It’s interesting to me that more than one answer has gotten a lot of votes…it’s not clear cut.

  2. Joyce Says:

    One of the email notifications for free Kindle books subscribe to lists genre. They also do a brief description, but I find just knowing genre is helpful.

  3. Lee Priest Says:

    There is an easy solution for those who want a brief description before “buying” the freebie…select bufo’s underlined title(which takes one to amazon.com page for title) …select “editorial review”, which is like the blurb on the back of a paperback book. If you like the sound of it, select “back”…add the title to your Wish List…go to Shop in Kindle Store…Select Wish List…Select the title…and BUY IT! That’s all there is to it.

  4. Man in the Middle Says:

    I already get the eReaderIQ Emails up to twice daily, but find them less and less useful for the same reasons you’ve suggested: too many entries that aren’t really books, aren’t really newly-free, and are in categories I never read.

    What would be helpful would be the ability to block entries that:
    1 have appeared in a previous list (most end up listed at least twice)
    2 are less than a full book in length (such as a short story or novella)
    3 are of unwanted categories
    I’m not finding any way to even perform such a search manually on the eReaderIQ web site, so if your service could quickly tell me about only
    1 newly-free books that have never been listed as free before
    2 and are long enough to be considered a real book
    3 and are sorted by category
    I’d happily drop the eReaderIQ Emails, and never visit their site again.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Man!

      If something I could do would stop you from visiting eReaderIQ, that would be a huge argument for me not to do it. eReaderIQ is a wonderful site that does a lot of great things. I’m only connected with them as a user, but they’ve always been nice and helpful when I’ve contacted them, and I want to support them. Even if you didn’t use them for free books, you can use them for:

      * A free e-mail when a book you specify drops an amount you name…very useful
      * A free e-mail when you book you have them watch is Kindleized
      * The best way to search the Kindle store, in my opinion

      My intuition is that you thought I would be pleased that you would stop using a “competitor”, but I want people to read all the blogs, go to all the sites, and sure, own more than one type of EBR (E-Book Reader), it they choose that..

      As to your requests:

      Some time ago, I stopped listing ones that had been free previously. I’m actually torn about that, since just because I got it free, that doesn’t mean all the readers of this blog have. However, it’s just a function of time. i think some books are free and then not free and then free and then not free, as a way to pump them up the bestseller list. I used to list them as “free again”, but that was sacrificed to be able to list freebies at all. Fortunately, I get pretty much all of the freebies, so Amazon tells me on the product page if I’ve ordered it previously, which is the heads-up. Never would be hard to know, if haven’t gotten them myself.

      I would not stop listing short stories and novellas: I like them, and I want to give people the option to get them. You also can’t always tell: a short story with a lot of illustrations can be the same KB size as a novel. Only books that have had both a paper and an e-book edition have page numbers listed. If I cut back on the number of books, I could list KB size…a small size is an indicator of a small piece, although a large size isn’t proof of a longer length.

      Sorting by category would be much more unwieldy, but listing categories would be a possibility with fewer books. I would take them based on the categories at the bottom of the product page…and people would laugh in my virtual face for that sometimes. 🙂 Publishers choose the categories, and they are often contradictory (books listed as both fiction and non-fiction, for example). In my ideal world, I wouldn’t care about genre myself…but that’s not going to happen. 🙂

      All three of your requests illustrate beautifully the real challenge. You see books that were previously free, “unwanted categories”, and short works as noise to the signal….while others might see those as the signal. If someone hasn’t gotten a particular book before, it might be a book they’ve wanted to read for decades. Science fiction or romance might be unwanted categories for you, but what someone else loves. Short stories are a significant part of publishing, and may become more so with people reading on backlit devices (like SmartPhones and tablets) in short sessions.

      All of the information is essentially available when you click-through to Amazon: it tells you if you’ve gotten the book before (which is probably most people’s real concern, not if anybody has ever gotten it for free before); categories (as defined by the publisher); and file (if not necessarily work) length. I have to look at how much not having to do that click-through is worth it for people versus the ability to produce the lists at all.

      I really appreciate your feedback on this….it’s complex. I’m leaning now towards doing a sort of hybrid, and listing a few of them with more detail and most of them with much less…maybe even just titles. Still considering what to do, though.

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