I’m Matt Manochio, a small press author with three novels and one novella under his belt. I like Amazon! I sell my books on Amazon and hope readers review my books on Amazon. I’m an Amazon Prime member (I’m binge-watching Boardwalk Empire now; way better than The Sopranos, IMO). And I plan to Christmas-shop on Amazon in the weeks ahead. I also happen to like Goodreads. It’s a great way to reach to readers and stay in touch with loyal fans and fellow authors. I’ve even given away a book or two on Goodreads through its Giveaway program.
So, imagine my surprise this morning when a writer buddy informed me that Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon) beginning next year will charge authors/publishers $119 to give away a book (digital or print) on Goodreads—which authors/publishers currently can do for free.
Amazon clearly loves capitalism. And what you’re doing with Goodreads reeks of it. Fine by me. You’ll soon be providing an otherwise free service to interested parties in exchange for money. Nothing wrong with that. But $119? I realize Amazon has to pay Goodreads employees’ salaries, and bandwidth (whatever the hell that is) ain’t free. But do you really think it should cost more than an iPhone X to give away 10 books on Goodreads?
Please keep in mind that a majority of your authors aren’t pulling in six-, five-, or four-figure royalty checks every month. Some of us are thrilled by getting a three– or even a two-figure one if we meet our publisher’s threshold to cut a check. And that money goes to pay the power bill or groceries—not an extra Ferrari to make the neighbors jealous.
In case someone reading this doesn’t understand what $119 gets you, here’s a boiled-down version, sans the Goodreads’ fluff: Giveaway entrants have the book automatically added to their want-to-read lists; the author’s followers who have the book on their WTR lists are alerted that there’s a giveaway for the book; eight weeks after the giveaway ends, Goodreads emails and reminds the reader to review the book; and giveaways are featured in the Giveaways section of Goodreads.com. (They’re not already?)
That doesn’t seem like a $119 bargain to me. But wait! You’re offering a Premium Giveaway for—wait for it—$599! Wow! That’s capitalism on East German Olympic swim team steroids! Do you hear that? It’s the sound of authors rushing to their wallets to whip out their credit cards! They don’t care what’s included for $599 (everything in the “Standard” package and “premium” placement in the Goodreads’ Giveaways section; seriously, that’s it), they just know that the return on investment will be worth it!
I’m a bit skeptical. Rather than plunk down nearly $600 to give away one book, I’ll save up my dough for a BookBub promotion (where you usually get your return on investment), and, as another writer buddy of mine suggested, I’ll give away a book for free on Twitter or my website. I’m not at all opposed to paying Goodreads to give away a book. You are indeed providing a service. But my limit would $9.99.
Capitalism is wonderful thing, and one of the good things about it is we don’t have to partake in it if we choose not to. I’ll still buy a bunch of stuff on Amazon (and with Prime, I’ll get it sooner!). But I cannot ever see myself dropping $600 or even $120 to give away a single book on any website, respectfully.