Why do so many websites promote free Kindle ebooks?

By on September 24, 2014

I just came across yet another list of 100 top websites for free Kindle ebooks. Of course, the obvious question is why wouldn’t a reader looking for a free Kindle ebook just go to Amazon and look there for free ebooks?

On any day Amazon has tens of thousands of free ebooks available (62,038 today), and they have sophisticated choices to narrow your search, such as Categories/Subcategories, Average Customer Review, even Kindle Fiction Moods (Action-packed, Humorous, Romantic, Racy, Scary), which I had never noticed before I researched this post.

The reason all these sites want you to click on a Kindle ebook from their pages is the Amazon Associates Program. Yes, if you click on a link to one of the free ebooks (or not-free ebooks) listed by these companies, and your browser gets redirected to Amazon, then anything you buy on Amazon during that browser session earns the advertiser a commission.

There’s a big problem with this approach, however, in terms of free Kindle ebooks. Among other restrictions, the Amazon rules state

“In addition, notwithstanding the advertising fee rates described on this page or anything to the contrary contained in this Operating Agreement, if we determine you are primarily promoting free Kindle eBooks (i.e., eBooks for which the customer purchase price is $0.00), YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO EARN ANY ADVERTISING FEES DURING ANY MONTH IN WHICH YOU MEET THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:

(a) 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links; and
(b) At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links are free Kindle eBooks.”

Wow!  That’s a pretty big problem if you’re only pushing free Kindle ebooks and your customers only “buy” free ebooks. So the sites that list free Kindle ebooks want to get you onto amazon.com in the hope that you will see some other, non-free ebook that you can’t live without, or while you’re there, you’ll buy that set of barbecue implements you need, or whatever.  You get the picture.


About jhomf.com

Software engineer, infrastructure engineer, Kindle author, and webmaster for jhomf.com

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