One of the characteristics of
e-book publication in 2014 was the appearance of new marketing tricks. For
example, KDP Select now offers an option to do a "Countdown" sale. In
this promotion, your book starts out at a low price of $0.99 and then the price
gradually increases until it reaches the book's list price. Amazon promotes
these countdowns heavily, but I fail to see the point. If customers won't buy
the book for 99 cents, why would they be more likely to by it when the price
increases by one dollar, and then by two dollars?
Still, I was willing to give it a
try. I listed a countdown for a book that had been out for two years and had
sold regularly although in small quantities. Here's part of the announcement I posted:
"On Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 a.m. PST, its price will drop to $.99 for a countdown period through Black Friday. (Your savings amount to 67%) On Saturday, Nov. 29 at 8:00 a.m. PDT, the price will increase to $1.99 and remain there for a second countdown period through Cyber Monday. (Your savings amount to 34%) It will return to its original list price of $2.99 on Tuesday, December 2 at 8:00 a.m. PST. Don't miss out on this one!"
I was encouraged to help the
countdown along by posting frequent reminders that "there are only
x-number of hours left before the price goes up." How annoying is that --
not just for readers and potential customers, but also for the author who has
to keep track of the hours and post the warnings?
There was not a single sale during
the countdown promotion. I received no feedback on why readers did not purchase
the book at a lower price, but the message was clear. Potential customers were
simply ignoring it. The countdown did not produce any sense of urgency. They
knew the book would still be around if they needed it, because e-books never go out of print. If they didn't need it, there was no reason to invest even that small $ .99 amount.
I have no idea what the Kindle people were thinking when they proposed this, but for me it makes absolutely no sense. This is one marketing ploy i have written off completely.
You don't have to do something simply because Amazon tells you to.