Kindle Countdown: What’s the Deal?

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Just some further explanation for Kindle’s “Countdown Deal,” following Katherine’s excellent article.  We strive for complete coverage!

I got this awesome summary in a newsletter called “Self Publisher Daily,” which is put out by James Jones.  James is the inventor of eBook Niche Explorer, an Amazon-specific keyword tool that I can’t recommend highly enough, so I’m not surprised that he also has a super-awesome newsletter.

James gave me permission to reprint this article, which I super appreciate.  Enjoy!

Kindle Countdown Deals
By Ashley Zee

Want to entice potential customers to buy your book(s) with a great deal that only lasts for a limited time? Amazon recently announced the arrival of Kindle Countdown Deals, a type of sale that allows publishers to arrange for their books to be discounted for a set amount of time.

The Kindle Countdown Deals can last up to a week and are a very targeted kind of sale that is designed to boost conversion and purchases (the success of various flash-sales sites across the internet are testament to this sales model) but it has some stipulations. While the Countdown Deals definitely have the potential to be effective weapons in your marketing arsenal, here are some things to be mindful of…

First and foremost, there are two big KDP Select criteria your book must meet. The book MUST be enrolled in KDP Select for at least 30 days prior to the promotion. You can’t publish a book and then give it a Countdown Deal on the same day. The other KDP Select requirement is that the last day for your Countdown Deal must be at least 14 days before the KDP Select 90-day period ends.

Here’s your timeline…

Publish your book and enroll it in KDP Select. Wait 30 days. Out of your 90-day KDP Select enrollment period you now have 60 days remaining. For Countdown Select scheduling purposes completely disregard those first 30 days since you can’t do anything during that time. It’s like they don’t even exist….

Effectively, you have 60 days to use Kindle Countdown Deals when it is in KDP Select.

Your Countdown Deal must be over before the last two weeks of the KDP Select enrollment period, so out of those 60 remaining days 14 of those days must be subtracted immediately. You now have 46 days to utilize the Countdown Deal.

But wait! The promo must end on day 46, and since each Countdown Deal can last 7 days (it can be shorter, but let’s assume you want it to run the maximum amount of time), the latest you can initiate a week-long Countdown Deal would be on day 39 (of the remaining 60). If you want a shorter Countdown Deal you can initiate it after this time, but once there’s 14 days left in the KDP Select enrollment you cannot use Countdown Deals. So you have a total of 39 days to initiate a weeklong campaign for Kindle Countdown.

If you kept the first 30 days of Kindle Select in the equation, the last day to start a weeklong Kindle Countdown Deal would be day 69 of the 90 day period. If you want a shorter Countdown Sale these figures change a bit.

And one more curveball, just for good measure: According to Amazon, if “…you renew your book in KDP Select for another consecutive 90-day period, the latest end time of your Kindle Countdown Deals may be the last day of your current KDP Select period.” If this is your plan of action you can start your Countdown Deal with two weeks left to your current KDP Select period. You have a bit more freedom in when you want to initiate your Countdown Deal, but the trade-off is that your book will only be available on KDP Select for a longer period of time.

If you plan on continuously enrolling in KDP Select, keep in mind that you can only do one Countdown Deal every 90 days.

Here’s an informative example of how Kindle Countdown Deals work…

Let’s talk about the price criteria for Countdown Deals. To qualify for this sale, your book’s normal price must be $2.99 – $24.99. If your book is listed on the UK domain it must be priced from £1.99 – £14.99. Unfortunately only books listed on or are eligible for Countdown Deals at this time. Don’t be surprised when Countdown Deals becomes available for Amazon marketplaces. It’s only a matter of time.

You cannot have a free promotion and a countdown promotion within the same 90 day Kindle Select period. Furthermore, the price of your book cannot have been changed for 30 days prior to the sale commencing, and you cannot change the regular price of your book for 14 days after the Countdown Deal has ended.

These are fairly strict rules but they are in place to prevent people from gaming the system – if a book is always on sale, it cheapens the perceived value of the book and of the entire Countdown Deal process. Once you set the parameters for the sale (duration and price changes) and start the sale you cannot stop or change it.

The minimum discount you can give your book is $1 (though if you are only offering a dollar off your normal price don’t expect to see a boost in sales. That’s stingy and it won’t be rewarded). You can arrange for 5 different prices over the course of your Countdown Deal, but each price must be “live” for at least one hour.

Yet despite these rules and quirks there are some huge potential benefits to participating in Kindle Countdown Deals.

The biggest reason is that you get the full 70% commission, even on books that are discounted to 99 cents (which is the lowest price you can discount to, by the way). That’s a nice commission rate for a deal which should generate lots of traffic and conversions.

Furthermore, Amazon will make sure the Countdown Deal is clearly visible on the sales page. One of the best buying-triggers for potential customers is to see the sale “countdown” price in relation to its normal retail value. It forces people to act quickly.

Amazon has also mentioned that some of the books featured on the Kindle Countdown Deals page will have automated Amazon campaigns too.

Stay tuned for more information regarding this – Amazon hasn’t said too much more on the subject yet, but if it is possible to increase your chances of getting your book featured in this way we at Self Publisher Today will definitely let you know.

Until next time!

Ashley Zee


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