Important Changes to the Blog – Please Read!

This is a fairly important and long blog post…significant change is in the air and I have been scrambling for the past two days to see what I can do.  I’ve always been upfront with the blog members on what’s going on – good and bad – so here is a little discussion on what I (and others) am facing today.  I am posting this on a Sunday night and, in an effort to let our weekday-only readers see and absorb this, I’ll wait until after lunch time tomorrow (Monday) to have a new post.


What am I talking about?

First, a little bit of background…

Unless you are a subscriber to the e-Ink version of the blog where Amazon’s cut is 70% of the revenue, I don’t charge for access to the blog or for the blog’s free app for your Kindle Fire.  As described on the blog’s About page (at least, until I revise the wording on that page later this week), the free books I tell you about are free at the time of posting, and I don’t make any money off of the free book offerings; I also haven’t charged advertising to third parties for book promotions.


Why not?

Part of the way I get paid for the effort of this blog – and the website’s operating costs and the development of the free Kindle Fire app – is via affiliate sales: I put a unique link in the post so that if you click on the free book I posted about on a particular day and purchase something else during that Amazon session, I receive a variable commission primarily based upon the sales price and item purchased.  While that doesn’t increase the cost to you, I do get a referral fee as a commission.  I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that revenue stream has been nice, and has been one of the key factors I was tracking in my longer term goal of being able to quit my day job and work for myself as a full-time blogger.


So, what’s the change?

On Friday morning, Amazon sent out an update to everyone who participates in their affiliate program (about two million or so affiliates) announcing a change, effective March 1st, with three significant new conditions:

  1. If you have a site promoting primarily free Kindle books and meet both condition #2 and #3 below, you will not be eligible for any advertising fees you may earn during the month.
  2. At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during a session is attributable to a particular affiliate identifier are free Kindle books, and
  3. 20,000 or more free Kindle books are ordered and downloaded per month during a session using a particular affiliate identifier.

Amazon did not define what “primarily” in #1 means.  I have a pretty good idea what it means!

For this blog, and many others both larger and smaller than this one, this is a huge change; if you look at just #2 and #3, it means I would have to have a ratio of less than 4 free Kindle book downloads to every paid Kindle download.  That, my friends, is absolutely impossible to achieve in today’s world for not only this blog but most blogs or websites informing people about free Kindle books.

I am lucky in the fact I didn’t quit my day job, but there are many other individuals and companies out there who have built a business around the promotion of free Kindle book offerings – I am certain you’ve visited many of these sites as they are quite good and offer their own unique take on things; I’ve visited them, also, and a lot of them are pretty good.  I would imagine this move by Amazon will put many of these people out of work starting next week, and those websites will be shut down by their operators over the course of the next few months.  Seriously.

 

Why is Amazon Doing This?

I can only speculate.  The rumor mills, however, are running overtime on some of the blogs I visit.  While free Kindle books will still be offered through the Select program (the Select program is a program for independent authors where Amazon strikes a deal: make the book exclusive to Amazon for a three month period, and during that three month period Amazon will allow you to (a) offer your book for free for five days, and (b) Amazon will pay you about $2.00 each time an Amazon Prime member borrows your book for free), it would appear Amazon is throttling back the emphasis on free books now that there is a large population of Kindles out in the world.

It would also appear Amazon does not want websites that primarily talk about free Kindle books being part of their affiliate program.

Personally, I think the move is pretty heavy handed – primarily the part you will lose all affiliate revenues if you reach a certain threshold related to free Kindle book downloads.  Many of us were surprised this policy change only targeted free Kindle book downloads and did not, for example, target free MP3 downloads or free app downloads.

I could put on my analytical hat and argue the pros and cons of each side, but that’s another series of posts for another day and venue.

 

What Am I Going To Do?

Believe me, I’ve thought long and hard about this one!  I’ve weighed many alternatives from radically changing the blog’s format to calling it a day and going back to woodworking as a hobby.

I’m not going to throw in the towel: I’ve spent a few years building this blog up to where it is today, primarily relying upon word-of-mouth vs. advertising and watching it grow.  If you add up all of the venues people are reading this blog (their Kindles, web page, free app, RSS feeds, social media sites, and email) about 125,000 people stop by and read it each and every day (now, if I could somehow turn that into a couple of bucks a year from each of you!).  That’s a lot of folks, plus being from Texas my ego won’t allow me to just quit without trying to reinvent things and take the challenge and see if I can make it work.

Here is what I’ve decided to do – and I will talk about each one in a little further detail:

  • Go back to focusing on the tips to enhance the Kindle user experience.  I did this a lot at the onset of the blog, and I can certainly do it again.
  • De-emphasize the free Kindle book offerings.  I’ll still have posts about free Kindle books, but I doubt they will be to Kindle books on the Amazon website but, rather, to free Kindle books on other booksellers’ websites (there are other Kindle bookstores in the world in addition to Amazon!) or to author websites.
  • Allow authors to advertise their “for sale” offerings of Kindle books on the Amazon website.
  • Have more interactive posts, soliciting your feedback and participation, on the blog’s website.
  • Continue to tell you about free apps and games for your Kindle Fires and e-Ink Kindles.
  • Continue with my rambling blog posts on a periodic basis about whatever I’m thinking about when I sit down to the keyboard and start banging away.

 

Back to the Tips

When I started this blog, I had a few “how-to” tips and I would post about the one or two Kindle books that were being offered for free that particular day on the Amazon website (compare that to the 1,000 or so new Kindle books that are offered for free each day now).  I have gotten away from the tips because of the sheer volume of the freebies, so I believe it is time to go back to what started it all.

You can send me your questions via email now (michael at fkbooksandtips dot com) and I will start answering them via posts if they are repetitive in nature, individual email if they are not, and post out the questions I have no idea on how to answer to the blog readers for their input and observations.

 

De-Emphasize the Free Book Offerings

With all of the books that are being offered for free, it would seem (to me, at least) a lot of times it has been a matter of throwing things up on the wall in order to see what sticks: it was hard to focus on the quality of the books as the quantity could bog you down.  That’s part of the reason why I haven’t posted about any freebie that didn’t have at least a 4 or higher user rating.  I’m going to make it more selective and focus on less of the free offerings and more of a quality offering; that means instead of 15 – 20 free book offerings I tell you about per day it will certainly be a lot less.

I do, however, have a lot of freebies to tell you about and things will remain “normal” or the same as it has been through Tuesday of this week.  After Tuesday, things are going to slow way down on the freebie side of things: I can’t take the chance free book offerings from earlier this week will trickle over into March and kill this 4:1 ratio Amazon believes is the correct ratio.

Most of that is due to the penalty Amazon is going to impose on sites that have a lot of free Kindle downloads effective March 1st – while 20,000 free Kindle downloads may seem like a lot to you, let me try to put it in perspective as it relates to this blog…the Amazon reports for how many free books have been downloaded are non-existent (although, surprise, they have promised to be able to tell us what that number is on March 1st), my unscientific guesstimate is – based on the number of clicks on my affiliate links in 2013 in relation to the number of purchases – about 50,000 or so free Kindle books are downloaded just from my site each day.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  I can only dream I had the 4:1 free to paid ratio Amazon will soon require.

While it might mean I have less posts per day it certainly doesn’t mean I am going to shut the free book spigot off entirely.  I’m just going to point you to alternative sites and locations offering free Kindle books, along with instructions on how to get them to your Kindle – it’s actually quite easy to get them to your Kindle!

 

Allow Authors to Advertise

Over the last two years, I have been inundated with requests from independent authors and publishers to allow advertising; sometimes, I think this blog is the only large Kindle book blog that hasn’t accepted advertising – many people have wondered why I haven’t, including my own family, but here’s the simple reason: I was making enough money off of the affiliate links to pay for the blog’s operating costs and to put a little extra money in my pocket for a family vacation, and since I was happy with that I didn’t want to set up the administrative side of things.

Last year, you may remember the poll I had that over 10,000 of you responded to – over 90% of you said you would be okay with sponsored / featured / discounted titles in a blog post as long as it was a quality book offering.  I’m taking you for your word on that one, and will only allow a minimal amount of targeted advertising with books that are 4 out of 5 star-rated or higher.  Consistent with what I have done in the past with the free book promotions, there will be absolutely no erotica or overly suggestive content, and if it doesn’t seem like it’s a book I, my family, or friends would enjoy I will not be able to promote it.  This will still be a family-friendly oriented blog / website.

I know many independent authors read this blog, so you may be asking yourself “how do I get in?”  If I have posted about one of your free book offers over the past year I still have your email address – look for an email from me later this week on the specifics.  I’m not out to gouge anyone or make a quick buck, but will try to make it fair and equitable to everyone.  If you miss the email, I will be updating the “For Authors” page on the website later this week.

It will also be a time to start back up the giveaways many of you have wanted to sponsor for Kindle Fires, etc.  Those sponsorship opportunities will be in the works, also, and I know the blog readers always love a good giveaway.

 

More Interactive Posts

A blog is supposed to be interactive, right?  I’ll be continuing the informal polls where you can participate – I read each of your comments as do others.  They will just be more frequent!  If you have potential questions you would like to see on the blog, please feel free to shoot me an email with your suggestions (michael at fkbooksandtips dot com).  Unless you request anonymity, I will give you full credit in the blog post for coming up with the particular question.

 

More Free Apps and Games

Amazon may be de-emphasizing the free Kindle book downloads, but I’ll still be telling you about the free apps and games for your Kindle Fires and your e-Ink Kindles.  Just expect me to tell you about them with a little more frequency.

 

Other Changes

Sometime this week, the name of the blog is changing from Free Kindle Books and Tips to Kindle Books and Tips; I know, that’s not very original but it’s the best I could do on a moment’s notice!  The URL (www.fkbooksandtips.com) will remain the same for now because too many external sites point to this domain.  Will it change?  I don’t know!

Change is sometimes good, and I think this blog can survive.  Will the changes be enough to have the blog overcome Amazon’s requirement #1 at the beginning of this post?  I don’t know – if I can’t overcome requirement #1, requirements #2-#3 are a moot point.  Time will certainly tell!

If you’ve read this far – whew, that’s a long post!  Thanks for sticking with me over the years and, God willing, I’ll still be here blogging about the Kindle several years from now!

Michael Gallagher

 

 

 fkbt2013

Comments

  1. Beth Anthony says

    Seems like Amazon is getting a bit big for its britches! I love your blog and have told many friends about it. so glad you are sticking with it

  2. says

    I enjoy receiving your email updates on kindle books. That's to bad Amazon is changing there policy. You have been pro kindle and pro amazon in pretty much all of the emails I have received from you. so its a surprise that they would do this to strong supporters (like you) of there ecosystem. Keep up the great work!

  3. Jackie A. Trudeau says

    I just wonder if what amazon is doing now with de-emphasizing free e-books and keeping apps and games is just a way for kindle owners to upgrade to kindle fire. I have kindle keyboard and can't get most of the free apps and games…I'm a reader, so it doesn't matter..But I think its a scam to buy more expensive kindles. I hope you continue somehow to post these free books. I have really enjoyed many of them.. Wish you well, Michael!

  4. Sunny Meriwether says

    I applaud your positive attitude and I thank you for your willingness to adapt. Hopefully everything will settle down and we'll all be OK with the ne reality Amazon has seen fit to impose. I have to think it's a bit unfair. Sometimes I don't read a book for a week or so after I download it, and sometimes that turns out to be exactly what I've been looking for, so I go back to Amazon and purchase more from the same author. Too bad they don't try to quantify that!

  5. Jean Sheppard says

    Hope all works out well for you. I really appreciate the free books because I am on a limited income. Thank you so much.

  6. says

    Thanks for telling us Michael, hopefully you will be able to continue this site. It is too bad that a giant organization has to start squeezing its supporters. I have fully taken advantage of the free offerings from you, but Amazon has also profited from me. I know there are a lot of people like me who support you, so I truly believe you will be ok, unless higher powers keep changing things. All the best, and thank you very much.

  7. Linda Percan Callen says

    Thank you, Michael, for your support for eInk kindles in the past couple of years. Thank you for letting us know what is going on. I appreciate your posts and look forward to those coming in the future

  8. Dee Guy says

    I won;t be going anywhere since I enjoy your blog! The free books have been awesome since I have been out of work for quite some time and they have really been a God send in my opinion.

  9. Myrna Kervin says

    I'm new to your page on facebook but have enjoy the information on books and app. Stupid move on Amazon part… I have down load books for free after reading about them here. I have enjoyed certain books and have bought books by the same author. Thanks for ur hard work.

  10. says

    I appreciate all you do for my friends, family and myself, I also know an 90 yr old shut in who enjoys the books I send to her from your site. We will be at your back thru this, your blog explained things very well, even thou Amazon wants to play mean. Good Luck to you and may God Bless you.

  11. Mary Sullivan says

    Good Luck Michael! I have shared your blog with anyone I come across with a Kindle Fire and I will continue to do so. Thanks for your hard work.

  12. Laura Dieterle Bullard says

    Thanks for the info and I look forward to reading more from you! (even if it isn't free books, you always have great info)

  13. says

    When I saw the affiliate notice, my first thought was how it'd affect the bigger sites like yours. I love that you're still going to feature free books, but direct readers to alternate sites. You've featured my books in the past and I look forward to your advertising email this week. I certainly hope the blog continues, Michael, and wish you continued success!

  14. Marcia Lerner McCrea says

    I absolutely love your blog, and have recommended it to many people! I'm so glad you're staying with it!! Best of luck to you!

  15. Crystal Sorensen says

    I look forward to your blog every day and have told alot of my friends about your site! Please don't ever stop!! I beginning to not like Amazon much anymore!

  16. says

    I would be more than happy to pay you a subscription fee for your service. I've saved hundreds of dollars ordering the free books from your blog, and would be happy to pay an annual fee up to $10 or even $20 or more if it meant you could continue

  17. Connie Schlechter says

    Doesn't Amazon realize that (1) the free books we've downloaded still provide them with data to recommend non-free books, several of which I've purchased from their recommendations and (2) those of us who still use e-ink Kindles many not be as inclined to buy a Kindle Fire now – if the availability of free Kindle books at Amazon decreases, we might as well buy the iPad Mini instead.

  18. Tina MacKinnon says

    This is good information. So to help the site, I can go through you when I plan to make an Amazon purchase, and up your ratio. I would also be willing to subscribe to the site…I get a lot of great reading through you. I like the idea of authors coming and promoting their own books, maybe you could link us to their site, we go from them to Amazon, and that would up your ratio as well.

    I have definitely bought a second book from an author because I like the first free one. Amazon is not able to count those purchases, as far as I can tell. I bought 2 Nick Scheff books after getting "Beautiful Boy" through you.

  19. Becky Henderson says

    Michael, you have done Amazon a large service and they are too greedy to accept things as they are. Big businss always wants more, but if they are going to treat you as well as us this way, there is always nook.

  20. Margaret Lake says

    Thank you for the many times you have posted my free books, Michael. I'll look forward to receiving your email.

  21. Beth Briggs says

    Thanks Michael for all you've done for us and all your hard work! I for one really appreciate it!!! I have gotten so many good books from you to read and many of them have turned into a search for something I have bought. I am really happy we will still be hearing from you and that you aren't going to throw in the towel… I have really enjoyed reading all your blogs and feel almost as you are one of my friends! I get a kick about hearing about your son picking out his books and which one he likes! My daughter received her Fire for Christmas and although she doesn't get a chance to read your blogs too often she also thinks it's pretty cool what you do and she likes hearing about your family! Thank your wife and kids for me and my family for sharing you and your time with us! I don't think it's right what Amazon is doing to you and other bloggers and I do hope they realize how much you do for them and their sales. I'm sure they will receive many letters also about their "change" for the worse. Hold your head high and we wish you all the best! Again… Thank You!!

  22. Theresa Jean says

    That's a shame. I love your blog. And I (and I'm sure many others) would be willing to pay a small fee for your services if you were able to keep doing it like you do now. I could on my own go to Amazon and search for my free books. You even generously give us filtered links to do it…. but I love what you do. I love the way you search through the books and present us with the best free ones each day. You make getting free books so much easier. I wish it didn't have to change. Take a poll. How many would pay a small fee to keep it the same?? I know you've polled that before, but the cirumstances have changed.

  23. Beth Briggs says

    Thanks Michael for all you've done for us and all your hard work! I for one really appreciate it!!! I have gotten so many good books from you to read and many of them have turned into a search for something I have bought. I am really happy we will still be hearing from you and that you aren't going to throw in the towel… I have really enjoyed reading all your blogs and feel almost as you are one of my friends! I get a kick about hearing about your son picking out his books and which one he likes! My daughter received her Fire for Christmas and although she doesn't get a chance to read your blogs too often she also thinks it's pretty cool what you do and she likes hearing about your family! Thank your wife and kids for me and my family for sharing you and your time with us! I don't think it's right what Amazon is doing to you and other bloggers and I do hope they realize how much you do for them and their sales. I'm sure they will receive many letters also about their "change" for the worse. Hold your head high and we wish you all the best! Again… Thank You!!

  24. Lorraine Stewart Morrison says

    Such a pity Amazon can't allow a small guy a bite of the cherry. You are such a brilliant help to kindle owners. Keep up the good work!

  25. Stacie Wolff says

    Thanks for the info. I read your blog everyday and it is very informative. Keep up the good work. I'll keep coming back!

  26. Teddy Van Hoosen says

    In this with you for the LONG HAUL. THANK YOU for all you have done and continue to do. I too have told many people about your blog and they all are now following. Will be looking forward to your next email. Lifting you up!!

  27. says

    Bravo, Michael. The move away from free books is a good move for authors. Where free drives traffic to sites (such as this one), adapting to drawing the same audience to (re)consider paid via bargain is an excellent move. I wish you the best of luck. I've always had very good results with your promotions of my books, a testament to the quality of your audience and your lists.

  28. Elizabeth McCoy says

    Sticking with you. Great blog. Thanks for the no holds barred clarity. You have my respect and dollars as few as they may be.

  29. says

    I've appreciated what you've done with your blog and will continue to enjoy and support it, even in its new format. One other thing you might be able to do (someone might have suggested it already, and add a disclaimer that I haven't read the notice from Amazon and don't know the original agreement) is occasionally recommend a Kindle book that's free at Amazon, but not post a link to it. After all, we can go look them up ourselves. :) But I'm eager to support you, and even though, as someone else noted, money's been tight, I'll even BUY an occasional Kindle book through your site, if that will help you keep your numbers up. Thanks so much for all you've done (I can't imagine the time it takes!) and for all you plan to continue to do. I honestly consider this to be a true public service, both to the readers and authors.

  30. says

    Thank you for a comprehensive view of the evolution of Amazon. I've used this site both as a reader and an author. I'm delighted that you'll continue to give free books visibility, even to alternative sites. I'll be very interested to receive your email too. And I want to take the opportunity to wish you continued success.

  31. Jennie Mcgrath says

    Hmmm. Like many others here, I think Amazon is getting awfully greedy. However, I do love my Kindles and have one at hand almost all of the time. This blog has helped me tremendously. Not just the free book links, mind you, but the tips and tricks for making the best use of these devices. Certainly, I will stay with you, and definitely I think you should have another poll about readers' willingness to pay a subscription fee. I'd have no problem with that.
    Thank you so much for all of the work you put into this blog! Keep the faith.

  32. Chris White says

    First and most important, thank you Michael for the work you have done to date. You save me an enormous amount of time and I no longer search for free Kindle books; I just read your blog.

    I freely admit I have only followed your blog (for several years) for the freebies. I guess all things must pass. I would cheerfully pay an annual fee to continue receiving your blog in its current form. Even though the books are free and I might find them on my own (eventually), your blog saves me a huge amount of time. I don't know what would be a fair amount, but considering how many free books I have downloaded, I would pay $10 – $20 per year.

  33. says

    I live in Iceland and have been using your blog since last november or so. While the most of the books that I have ordered through this website have been free I have sometimes ordered books you have told about with special discount, most notably the book "under the dome" by Stephen King which I just finished and enjoyed much. I have also read your blogs but not ordered apps or games through your blog because I cannot use them.
    Recently however your site (or Amazon) have been redirecting my orders to a German site or page
    and insisted that I tell them every thing about myself again which I have not done.
    Now I do not use your blog site as much an seek for free books at the Amazon site directly with my Kindle fire.

  34. says

    Thank you! Amazon will be getting a complaint from me. I buy plenty from them, in fact, I just purchased a second book in a sequel and will buy the third of a free book I heard about on here. Is there a way for you to get credit for my purchases?

  35. says

    Whoa! I have been reading your blogs, I'm an author hoping to get one of my books on your site. With that in mind I faithfully followed your tips and I'm about ready. Final step is for me to take back my book from Bookbaby and post it on Kindle select and away we go. I checked the cover, the title, the fact that it is the first book of the series, and the stars average of 4.5+, all is ready, my goal was to submit for March 3rd. First time ever my book would be offered free. Then I read your e-mail. Ah! Michael you must do what's right for you. I'll be happy to become a paid subscriber, as for my Kindle Select, why do i feel like this is only the beginning of the end? Perhaps Amazon ultimate goal is to become a traditional publisher…the irony.

  36. says

    Whoa, this is bittersweet. I have been reading your blog and taking notes, determined to get one of my books on your list. Good cover, first book in the series, 4.5 stars, all is ready, except that the book is not part of the Kindle select. I asked Bookbaby to release the book to me so i can sign up for Kindle select this week. Well, here is what I have to say. I'll be happy to become a paying member. Your blog and services are too important to our community, you have done so much, our turn now. Why do i feel this is just the beginning and that Amazon ultimate quest is to become a traditional publisher?

  37. Jackie Nowak Eisel says

    Mr. G, change is good and there is a reason for everything! Praying that your choices bring you much prosperity and happiness! Thank you for keeping it real and staying true to your values. Integrity is taught, your family should be proud.

  38. Deanna Hughes says

    Wow… first off, Michael, let me thank you for a fabulous blog! I've enjoyed many books (some paid, but most free!), apps, and all tips through your posts. I'll. Stick with you for as long as you stick with this… and will click through any advertising you need us to do to keep you going. Seriously enjoy your blot & wish you Godspeed & happiness always!

  39. Barbara Esther Bates Kinder says

    Thanks for your work in sharing with us. I appreciate the fact that you do not include books of erotica on your lists.

  40. Diane LoDico says

    Keep doing what you do Michael. I will keep following and I wish you all the best!!Thank you for letting us know as well. Hang in there.

  41. Tracy Morgan says

    Thank you so much for all you do and for being willing to flex through the changes. I am so sorry that you are being penalized for doing such a great job and for helping those of us who can not afford to purchase as many quality books as we would often like to have access to amazing books. Guess we will see how this all plays out, guessing there may be more changes afoot as well. Many blessings and thanks to you and yours!

  42. April Floyd says

    In the same boat as you and we will be in the business of promoting deal priced books only. Hang in there, you have a great game plan and I wish you all the luck in the world!

  43. Laura White Danner says

    Vent to follow!

    I'm very disappointed (with Amazon), but I'll still follow and hope for the best. My hope is that I'll still keep finding new authors and you'll get a cut of what I'm spending at Amazon. My concern is that I'll stop buying all the books (free and $$) and then I won't need to shop Amazon all the time. But hey, that might actually save me a lot of money. You've always done just an amazing job of finding some books that I have an interest in reading.

    Originally, I had absolutely no desire to get a Kindle, although my father was one of the first. I'm all for new technology, so that was kind of weird. When the Fire came out, all my kids got them and they decided I had to have a Kindle, so they bought me a Touch. I know that's not your favorite, but I fell in love, and was quickly addicted. Your blog was very nearly the first thing I found and I subscribed and stayed subscribed until it quit working with my Touch. Now, I follow your blog via email, but would be HAPPY to pay a fee. Your blog is what hooked me on Amazon being practically my sole source for ebooks.

    The thing that Amazon (and you) can't track from me is that I've downloaded hundreds of free books via your blog. I'm a prolific reader and love the opportunity to take gambles on new authors. Except for the classics, nearly every free book has been via your blog. BUT, I've spent more on additional e-books and paper books from Amazon than I have ever in my life. Amazon has become my go-to for almost all of my books, although I've also started using the library's e-book service, too. I also purchase my Kindle Daily Deals via your blog. I never would be looking at those deals if I wasn't seeing them so conveniently when you post them.

    The biggest thing is that after I read a free book and find an author I like, I buy another book from that author (and another and another…!) I'm not buying it in the same session from when I picked up the free book, though…so no credit to you, I guess. Too bad you don't get a residual from those purchases. And then, I even look at (and sometimes buy) the books that come up that other people have purchased. That's Amazon's doing, but I wouldn't get to that spot if it hadn't been for the free book I found via your blog. I can't tell you how many books I've purchased that way. I'm not sure I want to know how much I've spent. It's so easy to touch it and purchase it. *cringe*

    The other change I've made in my purchasing habits is that I pretty much purchase all paper books via Amazon. I'm not reading as many paper books, but when the Kindle edition is as expensive as the hard copy, then I usually will buy paper. I also still mostly buy paper for my kids. They seem to use their Fires for audio books, music, games, etc. and some reading, but they like owning paper books. Guess what! When I get used to going to Amazon for all my books (and other things) all year, guess where I did almost all of my Christmas shopping? Amazon. I am not exaggerating when I say that I strongly believe that I really believe this is due to having Amazon be my go-to for everything…all because I started with those daily blog postings popping up on my Kindle Touch.

    Okay, there's my vent. Amazon would be smarter to think about just paying you to do the blog AND giving you a cut, or maybe you can figure out something where your readers can somehow go to Amazon through you first so you get a cut. I can only imagine how many hours of work this is for you, so I hope this works out well for you AND me.

  44. Carma-Lu Thompson says

    I think they may find they have made a mistake. Before I found your blog I had purchased 3 books for my kindle. I was "borrowing" from the library. I started with your blog and found authors I otherwise would not have. I kept every email from Amazon for my free books and my purchased books in separate files. It appears I have downloaded 302 free books, but I have purchased 621 others. It seems most of what I have purchased are 2,3,4th books in series where #1 was free or other books by authors I had tried and enjoyed.
    I guess I can go back to the library. Oh by the way – my kindle will be 1 yr old in April.

  45. Christa Brooks says

    thank you for your blog and all the authors that you introduced me to via the free books. I am thinking that Amazon.com is going to be getting significantly less of my money in the future because of the changes they are implementing. These blogs are how I find new authors and THEN I purchase (from Amazon.com) everything else that author has written. It seems like less revenue for everyone ( and less e-books for me) and that is unfortunate.

  46. Hannah O'Neil says

    I am sorry this is happening to you and others. I like many others have found new authors I would never have tried if their first book I tried had not been free. I also have purchased many other books simply because the free book I read was so enjoyable I wanted more from the same author. I think amazon will find this will hurt them more than help them.

  47. says

    I subscribe to the daily email Michael. At $1 a month I have always felt that it was nothing compared to what I get out of it. I would gladly pay five times that for what I have gotten from it. I understand at this time the primary driver is the affiliate program. You have turned me on to some great authors and books! I really appreciate it Michael!

  48. Alicia-and Roy Street says

    Thanks for sharing this, Michael. And for your game attitude. So sorry for what Amazon is doing. But I think readers and authors will show you the loyalty you've earned. Hope things turn out even better than you expect so you can quit your day job.

  49. says

    I'll be one of the blogs closing down … all I promoted was children books, and my readership is very very small. How sad …. especially for indee authors that rely heavily on people who take the time to show off their books for them while their books are free. … Thanks for posting… I hadn't had time to read the letter yet.

  50. Jentrey Smith says

    Thanks for the heads-up Michael. Stick with it and continue to work the problems and challenges. I appreciate your efforts and the argument you presented, and will keep them in mind when I next purchase an Amazon e-book.

  51. Janette North says

    What a shame. Does Amazon really need to be so greedy? I really enjoy your site and hope you can keep going. Thank you for all your hard work.

  52. says

    All the way from The Netherlands: thank you for keeping this up. Through your blog I've discovered a lot of new authors and series, I never knew about. After reading the free book, I often went back to Amazon a couple of days later and bought more of the same author or series. It's to bad Amazon doesn't realize that. You do a great job in promoting!

  53. says

    I have bought a number of Kindle books for relatives after I have read them for free. They were always books that I judged to be exceptional such as Eli The Good and Water for Elephants. Amazon probably isn't aware of this.

  54. says

    Must say I agree with you re the upgrading of Kindles. I am VERY happy with my keyboard kindle and I really don't see any need to upgrade. I READ voraciously so my kindle is there for reading not for being a wannabe ipad. Games and apps?? Forget it, Amazon, games don't come close to reading a book.

  55. says

    I just found out a couple weeks ago about this blog and free Kindle books! I am sorry that things have changed for you, but please know from me I appreciate what you're doing. I am (finally) getting an actual Kindle tomorrow, if Amazon is on time with delivery. This will be cool, because up to now I've been using my iPhone or computer as a Kindle via the Kindle app. So, thank you for keeping the blog, and I for one will be grateful for any kindle tips, as I'm finally getting my Kindle and it will be new for me. Thanks for all you're doing, and I am sorry for the loss of income to you.

  56. says

    Thanks so much for the informative post, and thank you for your continuing service to readers and authors. Good luck moving forward. I know I'll continue to frequent this site… no matter what changes are passed down.

  57. Jean Cameron Wells says

    I've enjoyed many hours of reading, thanks to you. I also buy subsequent books in a series if I enjoy the free offering. That said, it seems that Amazon is getting a little greedy. It's a shame that all of the Kindle books can't be offered a bit more inexpensively… I have liked the indie books but would like to read some of the best sellers occasionally and can't justify the cost when I will be able to go to my favorite used bookstore in a few months and buy the paperback for less than 1/4 what Amazon is charging.

  58. says

    Thanks for all the suggestions as well as book offerings. Certainly do appreciate them all. I'm one of those who mainly downloads free books — in case I decide to read it later! Is it possible to have too many books in the Cloud?

  59. Linda Trudeau says

    And all good things must come to an end but will keep following you – thanks for the info and all the hard work you put into this

  60. says

    So, if I understand how this works, would it help to access Amazon via the blog anytime I want to make a purchase, or are only booksales counted. I would not object to doing this to help a fellow Texan!!!!

  61. says

    Hate to hear about the changes as I love reading the blog and figuring out if a free book is good for me – but I also order other stuff from Amazon and will do my best to place those orders in connection with a free book that I click on from the blog link so that you will get the commission if it is applicable – had I realized this would help you I would have been doing so in the past. Maybe I read that before but it did not sink in until now. anyway – I understand your need to change and hate that Amazon has created this need. Thanks for the information.

  62. Darcy Gagne says

    I'm very glad you are going to try to keep making it work. Most of us have the links to the long lists of free books on Amazon's site so we can troll them ourselves if we want more free books from Amazon. Thank you, Michael, we appreciate you!

  63. Jocelyn Roy says

    I wish I had known sooner about the way affiliate sales work but from now on I will make sure I buy via your link. I also pay amazon $80 a year so I would be very willing to pay a subscription to the blog if you decide that's what you need to do. I have over 1500 books on my kindle and I would guess that I found at least half through the blog. Thanks

  64. says

    Great blog, Michael. And thanks for your support over the years. I look forward to being a part of your blog as an advertiser or guest blogger in the years to come!

  65. Haley Haar says

    Thanks for the update Michael! As someone who works with independent authors to help them self publish their books, this is so aggravating! They are making it more and more difficult for our clients to publish and market on Amazon. I look forward to hearing more about your ideas on how to use our kindles with out purchasing through amazon.

  66. says

    I agree, Amazon will always work towards maximizing their profits. I will look forward to seeing more tips about using my Kindle as I am a new Kindle user and need all the help available. thanks for all you have done, Michael.

  67. Carrie Millsaps says

    Thank you Michael for being upfront and honest. I love your blog and will continue to read and share it. I share a lot of the childrens books on my site fb.com/CupofNooDy

  68. Marie MacDonald says

    I'd be willing to pay some fixed amount on a regular basis. Heck, I already pay for Hulu Plus and Netflix to stream on my computer rather than pay for cable. There is great value in your service, and I even purchased your app. How much would I pay? I'd say $5 a month = $60 a year would be fair.

  69. says

    I agree that Amazon seems to be taking a very heavy handed approach. Many times when I get a free book I enjoy it so much that I will then purchase additional books from the same author. Little disappointed in Amazon right now. Thanks for your blots – I definitely enjoy them and have gotten many many good books.

  70. Cary Stone-Greenstein says

    4 to 1 seems ridiculous. I have bought sequels to free books and others by the same authors – just not until after I enjoyed the first one, so not in the same session. Also, Amazon is adding to the reviews for these books, and (to the extent the books are any good) is benefitting from the sales good reviews can bring. I buy a lot from Amazon, but this makes me hesitate.

  71. Lea Otte says

    Thank you for your efforts to post free and low cost ebooks..one of the reasons I avoided ebooks for so long is that most of my reads came from the library. Now I can read the most current and new authors and still afford to eat.

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