The problem with ebook daily deals

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Kindle Daily Deal

Kindle Daily Deal / Amazon

I’m tracking Kindle Daily Deal since the very beginning. I’m also watching Kindle Daily Deal in UK and Germany, as well as Nook Daily Find – B&N’s answer to ebook deals from Amazon.

It actually doesn’t take a lot of time to notice that those deals are about the attractiveness of the price, not the book.

An overwhelming majority of titles come from a midlist. Only few of the Kindle Daily Deal books were the real bestsellers. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants was there to make a powerful introduction of Kindle Daily Deal and to raise readers’ expectations – which I doubt will ever be met.

There are two reasons why there are so few bestselling titles featured as ebook daily deals:

1. Publishers of bestselling books don’t need it

It’s obvious. If the book sells well, it doesn’t have to be discounted, even for one day. Full stop.

When the book is dug down in the middle of the list, then it’s a different story. Its author and publisher want more exposure. Being featured as a daily deal means a lot of exposure. I made a summary of KDD books in Top 100 in October. As much as 20 of them entered the list!

For a publisher and/or author it pays off to enter the daily deal only if the book doesn’t sell well in the first place.

2. Ebookstores don’t want it

The truth is that ebookstores don’t want highly attractive books as well. They don’t want the customers to buy a bestseller for $0.99 and leave.

Daily deals are intended to bring people to the store. They are teasers. If readers don’t know a lot about the book, they’ll start digging – and this is exactly what ebookstores want.

I was always wondering why Amazon doesn’t give a full information about the book on the official Kindle Daily Deal page. Or why they don’t offer a 1-Click Buy button. Or why they don’t offer RSS feed. Because they don’t really want users to jump and quit.

What they want is to turn customers into a shopping mood. And they want that mood return every single day.

Obviously, from time to time there will be bestsellers. As often as it’s needed to keep readers interested in daily deals – but as seldom as possible. Especially that the first reason comes back: publishers of bestselling titles don’t need daily deals. Therefore, ebookstores will most probably have to refund lost profits.

And the last thing ebookstores want is to pay for the featured book. What they want is to make the customer pay – and not only for the featured book.

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