Recently I heard about this new (to me) thing: putting eBooks on a gift card to give away or sell at events. I have often thought that having eBooks to sell for a lower price than paperbacks would be a nice alternative for potential readers who balk at a typical paperback price. Coughing up $2 or $4 is infinitely more appealing to some folks than coughing up $10 or $12. It sounded like a pretty cool idea, so I did a little digging.
I went to Dropcards to check out their process. It all seems pretty simple and pretty straightforward, with a minimum of fuss for either the author or the reader.
What you do:
Got to Dropcards and create your account for free. Upload your book cover (or similar image) to be printed on the card. Upload your eBook file(s) and choose the amount of cards you want printed.
What they do:
Dropcards will take your image and create sturdy gift cards manufactured just like credit cards and ship them directly to you. You are free to give them away or sell them as you like, setting your own price and changing it whenever you wish.
What readers do:
Each Dropcard comes with directions on how to redeem the card, as well as the website URL and a unique access code. The reader goes to the website (which can be linked to your own website or hosted by Dropcards) and fills in the access code from the card. They click on a Submit button and the download(s) are unlocked and ready for them to transfer to their computer. There’s also an option to prompt the reader to enter their email address so they can stay current on your latest news and releases. Once the digital file has been downloaded, it may not be accessed again, so there’s no danger of the code being used over and over by unauthorized people.
I thought this was all pretty nifty until I got to the pricing section. The price per card is not bad: for 100 cards, it’s only $0.49 each. The price drops with quantity, so for 1,000 cards it’s $0.34 each, for 5,000 cards it’s $0.24 each. This sounded good to me, and I was ready to order, until I got to this:
Dropcards expire after two years unless otherwise specified. Additional charges may apply for longer expiration dates.
I live in a small town with limited opportunities for book fairs and author showcases. I may attend one or two a year. I can’t imagine giving away or selling hundreds of book cards at these events. They could also come in handy for online contests or raffles, but I rarely do those, so I might not use even 50 cards over a period of a few years. I had to admit, as nifty as this idea is, it’s just not cost effective for me. Too bad. I think it would be fun to have the cards, although with 31 current titles out, I’d go broke springing for all my books. For someone who had one book to promote, and lived in a large city with lots of appearance opportunities, this would be great. For me, not so much.
16 thoughts on “eBook Gift Cards – Dropcards”
You got me all excited, Melissa, until the last couple of paragraphs.
It’s a doable promo idea if they’d remove the expiration date. Did you check into what the extra charges would be?
LOL, yeah me, too. No, I didn’t inquire about the additional charges. No expiration date would work for me; anything else, no.
$50 to give away 100 ebooks is a better deal than Goodreads $100 to give away 100 kindle copies… interesting. Thx for the info!
You’re welcome. Hope it’s useful for you.
Really interesting post, Melissa – thank you! Like you, I live in a small town, so this probably wouldn’t be an option for me, either. Several years ago I made up “coupon cards” of my own and included a Smashwords code for a free download. The problem with those, of course, is that the code can be used over and over again until whatever date you set has expired. If I remember right, I sold two of them, so maybe people at book signings prefer physical copies, after all.
I do think it’s much more satisfying to plunk down your money and then walk away with something in your hands, so this seemed a good option for a cheaper outlay. At least they solved that problem of having codes that can be used over again. I think if we were in a big city and had lots of book fairs and appearances, it’d be a slam dunk.
So it’s another deal that gives the advantage to those who already have high volumes. Sigh.
Unfortunately true. Leaves us little country mouses on the short end of the stick.
Hi Melissa –
Thanks for the nice write up on Dropcards! ( http://www.dropcards.com/books )
We think it’s a great tool for authors, and can definitely be a neat promotional or possible item to sell directly to your fans and customers.
We do indeed work with large publishing houses, however, we are very supportive and hyper-focused on our independent authors and DIY-ers more so.
I did want to touch base on a few things, to help clear up a few things I read that I feel would provide the most accurate information for you and your readers.
While we do have a 2 year expiration for the lifetime of the card, as a courtesy for our customers, we are always happy to extend the expiration of projects at no cost if the cards are still being distributed and worked as active projects on a rotating 2 year span.
Something else I read that I would like to address that one of your readers had mentioned, our codes are one time use only. The beauty of our platform is a single code use for download redemption. Your customers would not be able to pass a code on and share it for multiple redemptions.
Thank you (AGAIN) for the article, and if you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!
Vice President // dropcards
Steve, thanks for the clarification and extra info. It’s good to know the expiration can be extended. As you’ve no doubt noticed, that bothered a few of us. All in all, I think it does sound like a nifty tool if we’ve got the right avenues to sell or give them out. I will keep the idea in my back pocket, and it sounds like others might, as well.
Recently, I started to use post cards to announce my word search books. I wait until Vista Print has a 50 percent off sale for postcsrds, last time for 500 cards 4″ d 6″ it was under $50 for me to print the image of my book on one side and print a description on half the back, and then using my home printer I address the postcards myself (pod) when I want to mail them out or I hand them out. What you could do is the next time you have a book signing or go to a conference, run a corresponding kindle free book offer, and if you need let’s say a dozen or more cards do your own POD on the back of just the post cards you need. Print the dates and details of the free kindle offer in the address area and then hand out the postcards as a limited offer freebie to give away. This way you have a supply of cards and you can POD them yourself as needed about your kindle giveaways or $.99 sales.
Good idea, JB. Thanks!
Great article and info. I use Print Codes from BookFunnel to achieve this. I can print them on sturdy business cards, have them printed on “credit cards,” or email them to people. This past summer, I did the last thing, giving away a book as an incentive for filling out a long survey. I let folks pick which book of mine they’d like to have. After the survey period was over, I tallied up the requests and sent out appropriate print codes from BookFunnel. It worked really well. Only a couple of recipients (out of many) had trouble downloading their requested book. But those issues were quickly resolved.
Here are a couple of links with more info:
Oops! Here’s that other BookFunnel Print Code info link:
Good info, William. Thanks!
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