Amazon’s Kindle Countdown Deal

Kindle Countdown DealsSo what’s the deal on the Kindle Countdown Deal? You may have heard of it, but let’s break it down to the nuts and bolts and see how it works. The Countdown Deal (CD) is an additional promotional tool Amazon offers to those authors who have their books in KDP Select (KDPS). It allows authors to create a gradually diminishing discount of their books over a four day period with the idea being to inject a bit of urgency and excitement into sales.

Here’s an example. If your book is normally $4.99 on Kindle, you can set up a Countdown Deal to work like this:

  • Day 1: The regular price of your book is discounted to $1.99 for 24 hours
  • Day 2: The promotional price increases to $2.99 for 24 hours
  • Day 3: The promotional price increases to $3.99 for 24 hours
  • Day 4:  The price returns to its original retail price of $4.99

To make it crystal clear to readers, your book’s Amazon page will show a counter announcing the sale, giving the current price at that moment, showing the time remaining until the book’s price goes up to the next increment, and what that next price will be. Readers will still see the regular price, as well, so they’ll know how much they’re saving, or could save if they act fast. Kindle Countdown KCD2This countdown information appears on the right-hand side of your book’s page, just above the buy buttons.

The good news for authors is that if your book is set at the 70% royalty rate, you will continue to earn that rate, even when the book is discounted to 99 cents. Normally if you discount your book manually, you must set the royalty rate to 35%. As an aside, if your book incurs a delivery cost, that will apply as normal.

And there’s more good news. Amazon also has a dedicated website for Kindle Countdown Deals exclusively, so readers can browse for discounted books to their heart’s content. Having your title appear on a dedicated Amazon promotional page is never a bad thing. Most of us have seen the rise and fall of numerous discount book services that tweet out or email daily, weekly, monthly sales, yet those services very often lose their appeal or disappear entirely after a few months. You can bet your bippy that Amazon is not going to do that.

And finally, you can monitor all the activity and results of your CD on your KDP sales report page. Sales and royalties at each increment of the CD price will be displayed side by side with the book’s performance at the regular price, so you will be able to clearly see how much effect the sale is having.

So how do you start? Go to your dashboard on your KDP page and click on the button on the right side where it says Promote and advertise.

Kindle Countdown KCD3
Click to enlarge images.

You’ll be taken to a page where you can choose to create either a promotion (like the Countdown Deal) or an ad campaign. Make sure the radio button is set for the Kindle Countdown Deal and click on the Create button.

Kindle Countdown KCD4The next page that comes up will be the one where you set your promotional price, the days you want your promotion to run, and the number of increments between the lowest sale price and the regular price. It’s all pretty painless. Just make certain that you run your and Amazon UK deals if you are interested in doing both at the same time. Unfortunately, Countdowns are not available in other countries at this time, and your eBook will be at the regular price in those stores. Next time you’re planning on running a promo on one of your books, you might consider the Countdown Deal. It’s just one more tool in the kit bag of Kindle Select.

Kindle Countdown Deal UK or USDo the Countdown Deals work? Most of the authors I’ve spoken to really haven’t had much success with them. What has your experience been?

Author: Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is an eclectic, award-winning author who writes in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. She has been both traditionally and independently published and lives in a small community in northern Arizona. Learn more about Melissa from her Amazon author page and her blog.

13 thoughts on “Amazon’s Kindle Countdown Deal”

  1. I was thinking about doing this, but my eBook is already priced at 99 cents. Great article. Thanks for sharing. I especially like that if your book is priced higher and you do the countdown starting at 99 cents, you still earn 70% royalty, rather than the 35% I am earning for always having it priced at 99 cents.

  2. Thanks, Melissa! I thought I knew everything about Countdown deals, but didn’t know about the dedicated website for Kindle Countdown Deals. Great tips, thanks for sharing.

  3. Here’s what I’ve found: a Kindle Countdown, on its own, will do almost nothing for you. The countdown clock, the appearance on the page dedicated to KCDs? Bupkis.

    However, the fact that your royalty can double at .99 shouldn’t be overlooked. I coordinated a KCD with a .99 Bookbub ad, which helped me move 3,000 copies. With that # of copies sold, bumping the royalty on each on from .35 to .70 made a real impact.

    Bottom line is, it helps your bottom line, but you’ve still got to do the discoverability boosting yourself.

  4. Hi, Melissa: I engage in KCD. But the book stays at 99c the entire promo, returning to full price at the very last. I don’t set increments. Few do. As Shawn mentioned, running a KCD in conjunction with a Bookbub sells 3K and above. When Bookbub had UK only we could set a KCD on Bookbub for UK only, and bracket that with other promo for the USA market. But now Bookbub has International [on the drop down arrow on the price page], so that puts a KCD off the table because International territories include ca. de. and other Amazon venues that don’t offer KCD. Although one may be able to opt out of ca. de. and other countries. I haven’t checked lately. Bookbub changes things up about as often as Amazon. However, a carefully plotted KCD with inexpensive promo slots + pumped in one’s newsletter can manage 750 to 1K downloads on the high end; 400 to 500 downloads on the low end. The advantage is that even at 99c KU subscribers will often borrow the book for higher royalty rate than 70c per download. A last tip: If one cannot snag a slot on Bookbub for All Territories, submit instead for International. International slots are super reasonable, even for a priced book. Then one brackets the Bookbub with a few other promo sites for the USA market. One still earns a nice ROI, but the International promos don’t often have the ‘tail’ a regular ALL territories provides. There may be other ways to work a KCD. I haven’t explored them. We do have to boost them though.

    1. Great info, Jackie; thanks for sharing. I’m sure there are a lot of different ways to leverage promos, combining things like this. Anyone else tried any imaginative combos? If so, we’d love to hear about them.

  5. The gradual change of price never appealed to me. Reminds me of a “Mafia Auction” where they keep lowering the price they offer, and you’re going to sell to them anyway, because otherwise they’ll break your legs 🙁
    However, the special page sounds useful. Didn’t know about that. Thanks

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