Today my mom alerted me to a new service out there, a website called www.bookbub.com. Considering the source I was immediately suspicious. However, I have delved into it a bit and it does look legit. It's not a scam, but is it a good idea?
From what I can tell, it is a recommendation service. You give bookbub your email address, mark the genres you prefer to read and they send you periodic emails listing titles that are currently being promoted at a deep discount.
If you are a publisher (and apparently this includes self-publishers) you pay them a fee to have your book listed, one which depends on just how cheaply you are promoting your book. For example, Mysteries (not my personal preference, but its apparently their most popular genre) with one of their promotions you should reach an estimated 1,640,000 people. If you are giving your book away for free it will cost you $320. If the price is less than $1 it costs $640. If between $1 & $2 the promotion costs $960. If above $2 it costs $1,600. Free books are estimated to recieve 30,600 downloads on average (1.8% of recipients).
Discounted books are estimated to sell 2,710 on average (0.16% of recipients).
Percentage-wise that's pretty miserable but if you are offering your ebook at $2 a copy it's estimated you will bring in $4,460 after paying for the promotion - providing - the averages work in your favor. You could easily make $0 aka $squat and be out -$960 (as I've often said, publishing is just a legal form of gambling).
So is it a good idea?
I'm not sure. Obscurity is the enemy of the self-published author, so the idea of getting ones work out to 2,710 people has its attractions. But what about the long run. What if bookbub proves to be too successful and readers begin to use it for all the reading they do? Buy enough $2 ebooks which are worth reading and deep discount could easily become the price at which people expect to pay for an ebook. Isn't this what the row between Amazon and Hatchette was all about?
Anyways, if you've tried bookbub or know someone who has I'd love to hear about it.