Goodreads giveaways just got a whole lot pricier


Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, running a giveaway through social bookshelf site Goodreads just got a whole lot more expensive – and more exclusive.

Goodreads will now offer two packages for the formerly free program of giving away books — a standard package for $119, and a premium package for $599. That doesn’t include the cost of actually buying and shipping the book, in the case of a print giveaway.

It’s left a lot of authors reeling, from the cost and from the fact that non-US readers will no longer be able to win those giveaways.

Goodreads, owned by Amazon, is  “a great way to point readers to information about your book,” according to recent debut author Gwen C. Katz. “but I think its best utility is as a barometer of the popular attention your book is receiving.”

Other authors agreed with this assessment.

“Running a giveaway through Goodreads is incredibly useful because it lets an author or even publisher really broaden the reach of a promotion,” author Amy Spalding said. “On Goodreads, the entire Goodreads audience has access to ongoing giveaways, so even someone who is not already following me as an author there can find my giveaways — which also of course link directly to the book itself. This lets you immediately reach more people, but it is still a cultivated audience of book lovers, so it doesn’t just feel like a shot in the dark.”

Previously, Goodreads only required you to pay the cost of the book and for shipping. With these new costs, many are saying “no more.”

Kate Tilton, marketer and founder of Kate Tilton’s Author Services, LLC, said that she has set up hundreds of giveaways for her clients — including New York Times Bestselling authors.

“The proposed costs, in addition for the cost of the paperback book and shipping if doing a print giveaway mean my clients will no longer be using Goodreads giveaways,” Tilton said. “Some authors may choose to not use Goodreads at all. I don’t blame them, I can think of a lot better uses for $119, even more so for $599!”

Dahlia Adler, who has published three YA novels with Spencer Hill Press, self published three New Adult novels and has short stories coming from three anthologies, says she is done with Goodreads giveaways. She had done seven before, all on her own.

“Sure, they give a little bump to people adding your book to their reading lists, but I’ve seen no concrete proof that it causes a bump in sales, and certainly nothing to suggest it would ever help me recoup the $119 cost for the lowest level,” Adler said. “I’m honestly not sure how even major publishers could deem this a worthwhile cost.”

“In short, it means I can’t do it anymore,” Spalding said. She will have a new book, The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles), released in April. “That money could be spent on paid social media campaigns with guaranteed goal results (cost per click, etc.) or toward travel for book events, etc. I won’t magically have an extra $119 for giveaways, so I’ll just have to run them in other ways, knowing I’ll likely have a smaller number of entries.”

Goodreads has asked for author and reader input in a survey here.

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“I’m not sure who will see this as a must-have, exciting new opportunity, but I wish them well,” children’s book author Erin Dealey said.