Why do we park on a driveway but drive on a parkway? It’s a good question, but a better one might be why Amazon makes you click “Buy it now” to get a free ebook, while clicking “Read for free” asks you to sign up for a paid subscription service.
It’s a conundrum I ran into this weekend when I made my ebook The Geek’s Guide to Indianapolis free on Saturday and Sunday. I promoted the book everywhere I could think of, and have managed to give away 66 copies so far, which isn’t bad. But when I was mentioning it to friends online, one told me he was confused because when he tried to redeem the book, Amazon wanted him to sign up for a service first.
The problem is caused by the way Amazon handles free giveaways of books that are on its Kindle Unlimited service. Any book sold through the service gets the button to read it for “free” via Kindle Unlimited—an ebook checkout service with a yearly subscription fee. However, the option to buy it is harder to find.
When you give such a book away for free, the book is listed with a price of $0.00, but gets a “Buy it now with 1-click” button that doesn’t say anything about the price—and still has that “Read for free” button that takes you to a Kindle Unlimited signup pitch.
Needless to say, this could be confusing to anyone who hears that I’m giving away the book for free this weekend. You hear “free,” you see a button that says “free,” so are you going to click there or on the one that says “Buy”?
It’s kind of funny that this should be so confusing, given how Amazon made its mark in the ebook industry through making the ebook purchasing process less confusing in general. But in this case, Amazon would earn more money through convincing someone to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, so that’s the version of purchase that gets the less confusing option.
In any event, for those who can figure out how to get it, The Geek’s Guide to Indianapolis is still free until Sunday is over, and DRM-free always. Go here to get it, and be sure to tell your friends to go to http://bit.ly/geekindy to pick it up themselves!
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