Publisher Incentives for readers?

Publisher Incentives for readers?

I went shopping for books this weekend and wanted to buy them from ARe for the free book every 10 reward. Unfortunately I was informed that a few of the books I wanted wouldn’t be available on 3rd party vendors until after they’ve been on the publisher site for a month.

Well I grumbled a little bit but went to the publisher sites to buy the various books. It also sucked that they were on different publishers, thus forcing the check out process to be repeated. But I did it and after all, readers are constantly told that buying through the publishers is better – more $ for the pub and the author.

So while doing this I came across two things.

The first was a problem with downloading the book from one of the publishers. I went through the process, got confirmation that my cc was charged and then clicked the download link…only to get an error. I tried re-clicking the link to no avail. I checked the confirmation email and no further directions or links were included. Ugh, frustrating but I dutifully emailed customer service to ask for help to download my newly purchased book.

I did this ~10 pm Friday night and as of this post, I still haven’t heard back from the publisher customer help.

Thanks a lot.

Thank god a friend helped me figure out the problem or I’d STILL be without the book I paid for over 48 hrs ago. Isn’t one of the selling points of ebooks being instant gratification? And considering I was told my download link is only good for 48 hrs… you fail Noble Romance!

If you want readers to buy from publishers directly, wouldn’t prompt and helpful customer service be a no brainer? After such an experience, I’d rather wait for the 3rd party vendor who gives me help within an hr usually if I have a problem.

The second thing I realized is that publishers don’t really offer enough incentive for readers to purchase from the publisher versus waiting for a third party vendor. The chance to get the book immediately versus waiting is supposedly the draw and it certainly is for a lot of books. However given the TBR piles of a lot of readers, most can easily forget a book and only remember a few weeks later to no real detriment. Wouldn’t offering SOME kind of incentive help the process?

Even offering a free short story/sip/naughty nibble/fling every 10 books purchased or 15% off your next book or something would be more enticing and incentive than really nothing but potentially bad customer service.

I have to say that after shopping at 3 different publisher websites Friday night and buying from ARe, my overall shopping experience was easily and had the least amount of hassle from ARe. I realize that buying from the publisher is supposed to be better for everyone but I really question how little effort the publishers put into enticing consumers/readers to do so.

So what about you?

Do you buy mostly from 3rd party vendors or from publishers?
What would entice you to buy from publishers more?

10 thoughts on “Publisher Incentives for readers?

  1. I definitely think that publishers should offer more incentives. Personally, I’m more apt to buy from places like Samhain or Amber Quill Press during a new release day because a percentage is taken off the original price. It causes me to make more impulse buys because I don’t want to wait too late and have the sale go off. I think AQP also has a ‘get one free’ deal after a certain number of purchases. I think more publishers would do well to follow their lead. Poor customer service is definitely a big drawback. All publishers should know how very important it is to have customer satisfaction.

    • Interesting, I didn’t even realize Samhain offers a discount or that AQP has a get one free deal. You’d think that would be slightly more prominently displayed and advertised.
      I do know that AQP offers the % price, which IS an incentive to shop there vs. 3rd party retailers. So to me, AQP offers an incentive (the standard discount) and I’d only buy their products from their website.
      But so few other publishers offer such. Not to mention most only let you download the book for up to 2 days and should you need to re-download, you’re SOL. I like how ARe and Loose Id let you re-download the books you bought if say.. you delete your electronic library by accident. <.<

  2. I think that yes, the savvy pubs should be offering more incentives. Seems kind of like a no-brainer to me, but then again I’m just a reader/writer, what do I know? *g* But I do wonder if those pubs that don’t post the books to 3rd party sites right away are losing out on the sale completely? I’m assuming the idea is that readers will be forced to buy from their website, but some might wait a month, and I’d be curious to know how many people plan to wait a month and then forget and never purchase it.
    For me, though, the most important thing is paypal. I much prefer to use that to pay, so if a pub doesn’t offer that as an option to checkout with then I buy from 3rd party websites. And if they don’t make the books available on those sites, I usually don’t buy unless it’s a super, super auto-buy author for me.

    • I can tell you as an avid buyer that if I don’t make a note to buy the book, I’ll forget it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a new release or an old backlist. I have a list of books I want to buy and every time I shop I consult that list first, then peer around the new releases of ARe or publishers (then searching on ARe for the book). But if it falls off either place too soon? I’ve likely forgotten. That’s just due to the sheer # of books always being released.
      I think that’s another thing. I personally won’t use a site that only accepts paypal so there are a bunch of buyer likes/dislikes too! It’s tough to be a publisher.. glad I’m just a consumer!

  3. Apologies
    Please accept my apology for both the trouble you encountered once you purchased your book, as well as the late response you received (this morning – I hope you did receive it). Also, I’ve requested a change to the confirmation email, adding the information on the My Books tab so this particular problem won’t happen again.
    NRP is currently in the process of adding a Free Reads section to our Web site, with contributions by many of our top authors. Additionally, we’re working on on MVR (Most Valuable Reader) program, which will hopefully offer more incentives for readers to purchase directly from our site. I hope to have this program live by the end of the first quarter in 2010.
    Again, I truly am sorry for your inconvenience, and I’d like to make it up to you. If you’ll email me at, and pick a book from our Web site, I’ll be happy to send you a free copy.
    Kind Regards,

    • Re: Apologies
      Hi Jill,
      Thanks for stopping by. I did get the email yesterday and thank you for responding. I think further information in the confirmation email would definitely help. I definitely had concerns because I’m still not sure what went wrong, and what if it happened again but I didn’t have any help at 10 pm on a weekend. But I did get my book and that’s the bottom line for me.
      I can’t wait to see the new sections and I’d LOVE to see an MVR program. In conjunction with my publisher pricing series, I’m going to be doing a series about incentives on various publishers’ sites for readers, starting in the new year so I’m excited to see what NRP has to offer.
      Thank you for the kind offer and taking the time to respond to my concerns!

  4. I buy the majority of my books from one secondary vendor, ARe Books. Not only is their customer service amazing, I enjoy the variety of books from different publishers, the discounts they occasionally offer and the 1 free book for every 10 bought deal.
    Most important for me in the long run, however, are issues associated with exchange rates. Because of sucky exchange rates it is better for me to buy only from one secondary vendor than to buy from a gazillion individual publishers. This cuts down on all the different bank charges which get incurred when purchasing in foreign monies.
    It is for that reason that offers from epubs would have to be very bloody good before they got me shopping there. That is, of course, I actually knew about the deal in the first place.

    • Hi Kris! (LOVE your reader first series)…
      I didn’t even think of the exchange rate but I can imagine the extra fees and costs of charging your cc 5-6x at various publishers/vendors. I don’t think publishers are really vocal enough about their discounts.
      I’m going to be doing a series on publisher incentives in the new year as I continue with the pricing series. I’ll do the work but let’s hope there are some good (hidden) benefits out there.

  5. Hi, Kassa! I buy from aRe for all the reasons you just mentioned unless I’m really desperate to get something fast, and I almost never am. I also don’t like giving out my CC to a bunch of publishers — I know, I have no cause to worry, but it’s annoying. I have to admit, though, I’m impressed by Noble Romance responding here about your problem and trying to make it up to you. Great post! Very interesting question.

    • Hi Val, a lot of those reasons are also why I try to stay to 1 vendor.
      I also am impressed with Noble! I wasn’t posting here to provoke a response, I almost left out the name of the pub to be honest (except then everyone just emails and asks anyway lol). I appreciate the response since I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t getting a response or what happened in the first place. Things like this will get me to go back to their site and try again if there’s a book I want immediately.
      The interesting case of Kassa vs. ePublishers continues! lol

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