One of the first choices an author must make when they go to publish their title is: where will I publish and sell my book? This question can be a difficult one to answer because you can either publish across all online stores (iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and Amazon) or, you can choose to be exclusive to the Amazon Kindle store by enrolling in their Kindle Direct Publishing Select program.
When you enroll a book into the KDP Select program, you do so for 90 day enrollment periods. At the end of each enrollment period, you can choose to keep your book in the program again or pull your book out. Enrolling in the KDP select program gives you access to a variety of perks, including KDP Select exclusive marketing opportunities. One of these marketing opportunities is Kindle Countdown Deals.
In short, a Kindle Countdown Deal is a way to temporarily discount your book, but keep the 70% royalty rate from Amazon AND get some extra promotion from Amazon. During your Countdown Deal, your book page on Amazon will look a little different because Amazon will put a countdown timer next to your price. It looks like this:
That’s the basics, but there are lots of ins and outs to Kindle Countdown Deals, so let’s go over all the details below.
Kindle Countdown Rules
To be eligible for a countdown deal your title must meet these three criteria:
- The title needs to be enrolled in KDP Select for at least 30 days before the countdown.
- If your KDP enrollment is NOT going to automatically renew, then you cannot run a Countdown in the last 14 days of your enrollment. If your enrollment is going to renew, then you can run promotions until the last few days of the enrollment period.
- The title cannot have changed price within the last 30 days.
Kindle Countdown Deals can last up to seven days. You can run a countdown for a shorter period of time (they allow countdowns for as short as 1h) but you only get to run one Countdown every enrollment period, so people typically run them for 3-7 days in order to give readers ample time to take advantage of the deal. Many people offer their books on a Countdown promotion when they promote with us on Bargain Booksy.
In order to be eligible for Kindle Countdown Deals, your book must be regularly priced at $2.99 or higher. It makes sense, after all, during a Countdown you are dropping the price to encourage people to give your book a go.
Kindle Countdown Deals work by discounting your book and then bumping up the price systematically over the days of your promo until it returns to full price. Depending on the price of your book, you can set up to five tiers of price increases. For example, if your ebook is normally $4.99, you could set the countdown deal to start at 99¢, and then have the price go up by $1 every day for four days, until it returns to full price. You can also choose to only have one price tier jump. For example, if your book is regularly $2.99 you can set up a countdown deal where your book is 99c for the duration of the deal and then pops back up to $2.99 once the countdown deal has ended.
Benefits of Kindle Countdown Deals
The biggest perk of running Kindle Countdown Deals is that no matter how steeply your book is discounted, you still retain a 70% royalty rate. Typically when an ebook is below $2.99 the author only earns a 35% royalty. Making 2x the usual royalty rate for every $0.99 book sale makes Kindle Countdown Deals appealing to a lot of authors.
Kindle Countdown Deals can be easily set up in your KDP dashboard so you can plan your promotions well in advance. This is highly beneficial as it allows authors time to plan the marketing activity that will run alongside the deal and gives authors peace of mind that the price will switch as planned. Titles that are not enrolled in KDP Select can still run price promotions, however the author has to manually edit the price of their book in KDP and the time it takes for the new price to reflect on Amazon can be variable.
How to set up a Kindle Countdown Deals
To set up a Kindle Countdown Deal, log into your KDP account. On the KDP dashboard, click the “promote and advertise” button. On the left side are two options: Kindle Countdown Deal and Free Book Promotion. You can only pick one each enrollment period. In this article, we will focus on Kindle Countdown Deals.
On the next page, you select which “market” or country that you would like your Countdown to run in. The countdown deal is only available in the United Kingdom and the United States at this time.
Next, you select the dates that you want your countdown to run, and the time of day that you would like it to start. It auto-fills to 8 am PST. If you plan on sharing this deal with readers across the country, it’s helpful to set that start time to be earlier. Otherwise, it doesn’t go into effect until 11 am EST, which is pretty late in the day.
Finally, you get to set the number of price increments, and the price or prices of your title during your countdown.
On the day that your promotion runs, be sure to take advantage of the KDP dashboard’s real-time reporting. As your book is on a countdown, you can log into KDP and check out your live sales, page reads, and see what markets your book is reaching.
Kindle Countdown Deals and Discoverability
To help readers see these deals, Amazon has created a dedicated webpage. On the website, readers can browse by price point, see featured deals, and sign up for email alerts. While they are browsing, Amazon shows the reader what the price is normally, draws a slash through the regular price, and then showcases the current price in red under it with a countdown clock showing how long until the price goes up. This adds a level of urgency to the reader’s decision to buy, and makes them more likely to purchase in the moment.
Those are all the basics about Kindle Countdown Deals! They can mean new readers, increased sales, and overall more exposure for authors enrolled in the KDP Select program. There are a lot of pros and cons around being in KDP Select versus publishing around the web, but Kindle Countdown Deals are definitely a useful perk for those in Amazon’s KDP Select program.