Goodreads, the Amazon-owned social media site for bibliophiles, introduced a major overhaul to its giveaway system in early January. Previously, giveaways were free to host, making them a popular and cost-effective marketing tool for indie authors and publishers. Readers eager to win free books would browse the giveaways page and enter any contests that caught their eye, resulting in lots of exposure for books that might not otherwise get seen. The only cost to the host of the giveaway was that of the book (or books) and shipping.
Online book giveaways are becoming pretty standard in the publishing industry’s marketing toolbox—so much so that readers have come to expect them. Giveaways familiarize readers with book covers and copy, increase the number of reviews they receive, generate pre-publication social media presence, and build loyalty around both the author and the publisher.