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How to Give Away Copies of Your Kindle Ebook on Amazon, and Why it’s a Good Idea

Amazon has a handy featured called “Give as a Gift” which you can use to send someone a Kindle book via email. For authors, this can be how to give away kindle ebooksquite handy for book promotion purposes. If you can drive more sales to your Kindle edition by getting others to give it as a gift, the rank for your book’s sales page will improve and will ultimately lead to more visibility on Amazon, thus increasing your overall sales.

For example, let’s say you agree to speak at an event or conference and then ask the event host if they would be willing to give attendees a copy of your book in Kindle format. They agree to give a copy to all 100 attendees. The host would then go to Amazon and use the Give as a Gift feature, which will allow them to email a redemption code to each attendee, one at a time. Their attendees get a bonus, while you gain new readers, increase your sales, and improve your overall sales rank on Amazon!

Yep, it really is that simple. And we are using this feature to give away bonus books to the first 50 who register for the Nonfiction Writers Conference! Check it out here!

35 Responses to How to Give Away Copies of Your Kindle Ebook on Amazon, and Why it’s a Good Idea

  1. Hello. I have a gravitation of people & businesses who’ve signed up to purchase my book(s). This is a great idea if one doesn’t have fans on the edge of their seats, literally, to buy ones book(s).

  2. I hadn’t seen this button on Amazon yet; thanks, Stephanie!

    What I’d love to see is “You’re the author; gift this to someone without having to pay for it first.”

    Of course, the first abuse of that would be to sell digital copies from our own websites and use Amazon’s network to fulfill the orders. Oops. Guess that’s not gonna happen.

    How do you give multiple copies at once? It’s not obvious from the tool.

    • Hi Joel, It would be nice if we could gift copies of our own Kindle books via Amazon, but you’re right–Amazon wouldn’t like the abuse of that and quite frankly, they have no incentive to offer that service to authors. However, you can do that with Smashwords by creating a 100% off discount code. And unfortunately there is no bulk gift option (that I know of). If you need to gift multiple copies, you have to go through the process one at a time. I’ve been doing that for people who register for NFWC and it’s not as painful as it sounds! Just a minute or two per purchase if your credit card info is already on file.

    • That gift button has been there for quite a while now. I’ve used it multiple times to give free books to my subscribers. It’s definitely a handy little link!

  3. Lina Tyuliep says:

    Does it cost anything the author to gift her Kindle book to the others? If yes, how much? Can authors also gift their paper books distributed on amazon.com and published by createspace.com?

    • Hi Lina, Good question! Yes, you still have to pay the retail price to gift a book. I don’t believe there is a way to gift your Kindle book without paying for it through Amazon, but you can do this if you distribute your book through Smashwords. You can create a discount code for 100% off and then provide that to readers. Hope that helps!

  4. Dave says:

    Great if you live in the States. Amazon.co.uk doesn’t allow this important service (in fact there are an amazing number of differences between the .com and .co.uk offerings).

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  7. Ashley Steel says:

    We published used CreateSpace and a tiny publisher. We figured out that it was cheaper to buy our book on Amazon where we got free shipping through Amazon Prime than to order the book in bulk, buy an envelope, and ship the book. Plus the extra sales boosted our rankings! What do you think about the free giveaway days on kindle? Any tips? We’re trying it this Tues/Wed and would love to see a bunch of copies downloaded. Thanks for your article.

    • Hi Ashley, The KDP Select give-away programs can be an effective way to attract readers for your book, though I don’t like them for two reasons. First, Amazon requires exclusive rights to distribute your ebook, so it can’t be available via Smashwords, iBooks, the Nook store, etc. I think that is unfortunate. I also think it’s frustrating that you don’t get any data about who downloaded your book–no contact information or any way to follow up. With all of that said, I do think that you can gain more readers and build some buzz for your book via a give-away program. Wishing you lots of luck!

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  9. Jeremy Webb says:

    It’s a common frustration that the otherwise excellent Kindle platform does not allow UK users to buy eBooks as a gift for someone else. If you want to give a Kindle eBook to someone in the UK, it’s still not possible directly, but there is this neat work-around which creates a custom gift card with the book’s cover, name and a short link as the gift image. http://echoebooks.com/blog/160-giving-a-kindle-ebook-as-a-gift

  10. stephen says:

    Sadly this gifting service doesn’t apply in the UK at all. Only Amazon.com offers this service; indeed, even if you have a .com account, as I do, you still can’t enjoy the gifting service if you’re based in Europe. It stinks, it really does. The forums are alive with frustrated comment that go back in time. It turns out Amazon thinks Americans deserve better. It does not bode well for their reputation and good standing; this is what frustrates the wider world and this is not needed at this time. Sadly we see so much of it.

  11. Mark Ruthman says:

    Has anyone tried having people e-mail the files to their Kindles? Each Kindle device/reading app has a unique e-mail address, and you could either have people enter their Kindle e-mail address and you send the mobi file to their account, or they could enter their regular e-mail address, and you send it to them and they forward (or sideload) it to their Kindle.

    No DRM, not sure if Amazon has any issues with this happening in bulk, but it’s how bookrooster.com does it. (A site for people to solicit Amazon reviews by giving comp copies).

  12. Hi. I’m confused, because I thought you were talking about how authors can give their books away, as promotionals. But when I tried it on Amazon, it turns out it’s about how I can encourage other people to give my book away…and pay for it.
    But how do I give a Kindle version away as a promotional, without paying for it? Or is that impossible?
    Thanks!

  13. This is really good information. I am launching a series of ebooks for my business clients in the New Year and I can use all the tips I can get a hold of not only for my benefit but also for my clients’. Kudos to all those who shared additional pointers in the comments.

  14. On Amazon US purchase a gift card to email to the recipient – You can upload a jpeg of your cover as the picture on the card

  15. Romanus Gabriel says:

    Kindle is not available in my country (Nigeria) and I cannot buy my book (The Thief Hunter) and send it to a reviewer. It’s frustrating and I do not know how to get over that problem.

  16. Thanks for all the comments and info – I have been trying to figure out how to give away free copies without paying for them myself. Looks like Smashwords is the best way to do it. Y’all saved me hours of frustration trying to do the impossible! Thanks.

  17. I have 1 physical copy of my novel THE HEALER, at the moment, and a PDF version on my computer. Would sending this PDF version be acceptable? And what email address would I send it to? I want to buy your 3rd option promotion package at this time. Thanks!

    • I’m not sure I fully understand your question. If you’re asking what version you would send to people who sign up for your own ebook give-away, then the PDF version you have should be fine (make sure it includes a copyright statement). Ideally you should automate the delivery process so that you have a form on your website where readers register (enter their name and email address) and then they are taken to a page to download the PDF or it’s emailed to them–or both. Talk to a good web master to get this set up!

  18. Kenton Webb says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for writing about this. Here’s a question I put to Mark Coker of Smashwords and Jon Fine of Amazon recently at BookCon NY. Neither had an answer.
    Do you know if there is any limit to the number of copies of a single title you can gift? I am launching my first eBook in November and I am deliberately pricing it low ($2.99) so there is no barrier to purchase. I have many friends who have offered to buy a copy and tell their friends, but more than that, they have offered to actually buy copies for their friends. I would hate for Amazon or iBooks to pick up that they’ve bought multiple copies of the same title and so mistake them for attempting to game the system. It is not unlikely that some of my friends will purchase over 10 copies of my book as gifts for their wider networks. Some may be able to purchase far higher numbers than that.
    Many thanks.

  19. Jeanine Joy says:

    I read somewhere a while back that if you have your book for free anywhere Amazon matched that price on Kindle. Do you know if that is true?

    Also, I’m going to be releasing a suicide prevention book next week, When Only You Can Prevent Suicide, and I want to give away 1,000 copies of the Kindle version. Although now I’m thinking I may be better off doing the give away via my website where I can harvest Email addresses. Thoughts?

    Is the Kindle give away based on time it is available or the number of copies or author choice?

    Thank you,

    Jeanine Joy

    • Hi Jeanine,
      Yes, it’s true that if you list your ebook for free on other sites (like iTunes, BN.com), Amazon should price match it for free within a few days. You can accomplish this by uploading your book via Smashwords and setting the price to $0.

      I am always a fan of ebook give-aways and I’m wondering if you might want to do both? Give away through Kindle AND do a separate give-away through your website. It’s great to harvest email addresses when you can, which would be the benefit of giving it away through your website. But giving it away via Amazon will likely also help you reach an audience you couldn’t otherwise reach. Keep in mind that you cannot do a free promotion on Amazon if your ebook is for sale elsewhere, so in order to accomplish this you would likely need to go with the $0 price match strategy. And by the way, I think you have a wonderful topic–one that I am personally passionate about. Wishing you all the best.

  20. Eric says:

    Hi:

    I apologize if this has been answered already; how do you give your own Kindle book away for free but at no cost to you?

    Thanks,
    Eric

  21. What about this idea, especially for a small number of giveaways? Personally give or mail enough dollars to someone you want to “give” your Kindle ebook. Include a note explaining how to purchase your book. When they buy, you get 70% of the book price as royalty.

    In effect, you are giving the book away for only 30% of the cost of the book.

  22. It is true that they can opt for a gift certificate on Amazon or exchange it for another title. Can’t do much about that…

  23. I don’t know of a way to do this for Amazon, but if your ebook is published with Smashwords, you can create a discount code at 100% off and provide that to those who opt-in to your site!

  24. Smashwords is a DIY website. Follow their guidelines to list your ebook there!

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