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Cheap and Free: Evaluating
Amazon’s E-book Promotions
Krista Coulson
University of Chicago Press
AAUP Annual Meeting
New O...
Amazon Promotions: (That we’ve done)
 Sunshine Deal &The Big Deal
◦ 2-week promotion, $0.99-$2.99
 Monthly Deal
◦ 1-mont...
Our Questions
 Will super cheap e-book
promos suck (more
valuable) sales away from
the print versions?
 If we have to fu...
Sunshine Deal June 2011
much tall
3000%
Increase!!!
very sales
wow
Sunshine Deal June 2011
Sunshine Deal June 2011
-4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks +8 Wks
E-book Unit Sales E-book
E- and Print Unit Sales
-4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks +8 Wks
Print E-book
E- and Print Unit Sales with Revenue
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
120%
140%
-4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks +8 Wks
Pri...
Sunshine Deal 2011
Literature
Biology
History
History/GLBTQ Studies
Fiction
Popular Science
Film Studies
History/Women's S...
The Big Deal
Amazon rolls out a bunch of promotions:
 The Big Deal
 The Monthly Deal
 The Amazon 100
 The Daily Deal
...
Big Deal 2012
-40%
-20%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
120%
140%
160%
180%
E-book Print % Rev Change
Big Deal 2013
-50%
0%
50%
100%
150%
200%
250%
-6 Wks -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks
E-books Print % Rev Change
COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT!
And now for something
Chicago Shorts Experiment
 From Nov 4- Dec 9th 2013 we made 17
of our 18 Chicago Shorts free on every
platform.
 We didn...
5 weeks of Free Period
11/3-11/9 11/10-11/16 11/17-11/23 11/24-11/30 12/1-12/7
Total Shorts Units on Amazon
Total Units of 17 Shorts (Sept –May)9/1-9/7
9/8-9/14
9/15-9/21
9/22-9/28
9/29-10/5
10/6-10/12
10/13-10/19
10/20-10/26
10/2...
Shorts Source Titles by Binding
1-Sep
8-Sep
15-Sep
22-Sep
29-Sep
6-Oct
13-Oct
20-Oct
27-Oct
3-Nov
10-Nov
17-Nov
24-Nov
1-D...
All titles compared to Shorts Source Titles
1-Sep
8-Sep
15-Sep
22-Sep
29-Sep
6-Oct
13-Oct
20-Oct
27-Oct
3-Nov
10-Nov
17-No...
SOME OTHER LESSONS
WE LEARNED
Promotions:
Promo Impact on Author Royalties
Pre-Promo During Promo Post-Promo >6wks after
E-book Royalties Print Royalties
1-Week Custom Promo
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
120%
140%
All 19 Other Bk 1 Promo Movie Tie-in % Rev Over Baseline
Big Deal:The Series Effect
-6 Wks -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks
Promo Units Bk2 Units Bk3 Units Bk 4 Units
Monthly Deal: Series Effect
Promo Bk 1 Bk 2 Bk 3 Bk 4 Non-Series Book by Author
Promo Period
Revenue for the Series
0%
50%
100%
150%
200%
250%
300%
350%
400%
P-6 Avg P Average P+6 Avg P+10 Avg
E-books P-Books Total ...
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Slides from Krista Coulson's panel at the 2014 AAUP Annual Meeting (New Orleans, June 23, 2014)

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Cheap and Free: Evaluating Amazon's E-book Promotions

  1. 1. Cheap and Free: Evaluating Amazon’s E-book Promotions Krista Coulson University of Chicago Press AAUP Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana June 23, 2014
  2. 2. Amazon Promotions: (That we’ve done)  Sunshine Deal &The Big Deal ◦ 2-week promotion, $0.99-$2.99  Monthly Deal ◦ 1-month promotion, $0.99-$2.99  Custom Promotions ◦ Organized by UCP across multiple e- booksellers  1-Day Promotions ◦ 1-day promotion, $0.99-$2.99
  3. 3. Our Questions  Will super cheap e-book promos suck (more valuable) sales away from the print versions?  If we have to fund a promo by creating a promotional price, are we saturating our market with the promo sale and hurting ourselves in the long run?  How do promos work for different kinds of titles?  Is a promo just a ‘flash in the pan’ in attention or revenue, or does it have a longer benefit for a title overall?  Is there meaning in the universe? What existed before the Big Bang?
  4. 4. Sunshine Deal June 2011 much tall 3000% Increase!!! very sales wow
  5. 5. Sunshine Deal June 2011
  6. 6. Sunshine Deal June 2011 -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks +8 Wks E-book Unit Sales E-book
  7. 7. E- and Print Unit Sales -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks +8 Wks Print E-book
  8. 8. E- and Print Unit Sales with Revenue 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 140% -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks +8 Wks Print E-book % Rev over Baseline
  9. 9. Sunshine Deal 2011 Literature Biology History History/GLBTQ Studies Fiction Popular Science Film Studies History/Women's Studies Education Ethnography Travel Political Science Revenue Change Before and After the Promotion 0
  10. 10. The Big Deal Amazon rolls out a bunch of promotions:  The Big Deal  The Monthly Deal  The Amazon 100  The Daily Deal  1-day Promotions
  11. 11. Big Deal 2012 -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 140% 160% 180% E-book Print % Rev Change
  12. 12. Big Deal 2013 -50% 0% 50% 100% 150% 200% 250% -6 Wks -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks E-books Print % Rev Change
  13. 13. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! And now for something
  14. 14. Chicago Shorts Experiment  From Nov 4- Dec 9th 2013 we made 17 of our 18 Chicago Shorts free on every platform.  We didn’t publicize or announce it, and to my knowledge neither did Amazon or any of our other e-booksellers.
  15. 15. 5 weeks of Free Period 11/3-11/9 11/10-11/16 11/17-11/23 11/24-11/30 12/1-12/7 Total Shorts Units on Amazon
  16. 16. Total Units of 17 Shorts (Sept –May)9/1-9/7 9/8-9/14 9/15-9/21 9/22-9/28 9/29-10/5 10/6-10/12 10/13-10/19 10/20-10/26 10/27-11/2 11/3-11/9 11/10-11/16 11/17-11/23 11/24-11/30 12/1-12/7 12/9-12/15 12/16-12/22 12/23-12/29 12/30-1/5/14 1/6-1/12 1/13-1/19 1/20-1/26 1/27-2/2 2/3-2/9 2/10-2/16 2/17-2/23 2/24-3/2 3/3-3/9 3/10-3/16 3/17-3/23 3/24-3/30 3/31-4/6 4/7-4//13 4/14-4/20 4/21-4/27 4-28-5/4 5/5-5/11 5/12-5/18 Free Period
  17. 17. Shorts Source Titles by Binding 1-Sep 8-Sep 15-Sep 22-Sep 29-Sep 6-Oct 13-Oct 20-Oct 27-Oct 3-Nov 10-Nov 17-Nov 24-Nov 1-Dec 8-Dec 15-Dec 22-Dec 29-Dec 5-Jan 12-Jan 19-Jan 26-Jan 2-Feb 9-Feb 16-Feb 23-Feb 2-Mar 9-Mar 16-Mar 23-Mar 30-Mar 6-Apr 13-Apr 20-Apr 27-Apr 4-May 11-May E-book Total Cloth Total Paper TotalFree Period
  18. 18. All titles compared to Shorts Source Titles 1-Sep 8-Sep 15-Sep 22-Sep 29-Sep 6-Oct 13-Oct 20-Oct 27-Oct 3-Nov 10-Nov 17-Nov 24-Nov 1-Dec 8-Dec 15-Dec 22-Dec 29-Dec 5-Jan 12-Jan 19-Jan 26-Jan 2-Feb 9-Feb 16-Feb 23-Feb 2-Mar 9-Mar 16-Mar 23-Mar 30-Mar 6-Apr 13-Apr 20-Apr 27-Apr 4-May 11-May E-book Total Cloth Total Paper Total Total Units NOT Including Shorts and Shorts-Related Titles Free Period
  19. 19. SOME OTHER LESSONS WE LEARNED Promotions:
  20. 20. Promo Impact on Author Royalties Pre-Promo During Promo Post-Promo >6wks after E-book Royalties Print Royalties
  21. 21. 1-Week Custom Promo 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% 140% All 19 Other Bk 1 Promo Movie Tie-in % Rev Over Baseline
  22. 22. Big Deal:The Series Effect -6 Wks -4 Wks -2 Wks Promo +2 Wks +4 Wks +6 Wks Promo Units Bk2 Units Bk3 Units Bk 4 Units
  23. 23. Monthly Deal: Series Effect Promo Bk 1 Bk 2 Bk 3 Bk 4 Non-Series Book by Author Promo Period
  24. 24. Revenue for the Series 0% 50% 100% 150% 200% 250% 300% 350% 400% P-6 Avg P Average P+6 Avg P+10 Avg E-books P-Books Total % over Pre-Promo

Slides from Krista Coulson's panel at the 2014 AAUP Annual Meeting (New Orleans, June 23, 2014)

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