Nothing’s been ordinary in the world of ebooks lately, but ordinarily, lately, when you see the line “This price was set by the publisher” on a Kindle ebook’s product page it is Amazon’s way of letting us know that there’s bad news adjacent to it in the form of one of those special “agency price-fixing model” prices. $12? $15? One never knows.
But here’s a breath of fresh air! Big Six publisher Simon & Schuster has done some creative thinking about how to leverage the power of “free” in the Kindle Store and used the agency price-fixing model to try something new, with a substantial volume of freebies under the lusty title Swashbuckling Fantasy: 10 Thrilling Tales of Magical Adventure.
Just what do I mean by substantial?
- First, these are 10 tales by 10 authors each with her own substantial oeuvre of fantasy titles already, so of course the authors and the publisher are hoping that this process will work for them and lead readers to their other work in the same way that we have seen work so effectively with our own Free Kindle Nation Shorts program. The authors represented are
- Second, for those of you who, like me, take a look at file size and “number of locations” in an ebooks metadata and free sample before committing to a book, you’ll recognize that the offering’s file size of 1320 KB and its 3,936 “locations” spell a book of significant size and virtual weight.
- Third, my quick perusal of the full text indicates that, unlike many “sampler” offerings, these 10 tales appear to be just that — tales, self-contained short stories or novellas — rather than frustrating tastes of an excerpted chapter or two.
So, bravo, Simon & Schuster! This is just the kind of thing that the big publishers should be doing to experiment with and begin to figure out the retail marketing power of distinctive pricing and free-to-paid linkages, so we’ve got your back if some of the other agency price-fixing model publishers whine that you are engaging in competitive and adversarial behavior.
Indeed, I am so pleased to see this little development that I am not going to make any snide cracks in which I wonder archly how you can afford to offer this sampler free of charge what with the storage and fulfillment costs of ebooks!