Amazon.com recently raised the qualifying total of eligible purchases from $25 to $35 in the US for Free Super Saver Shipping.
(Yes, this is significant for CreateSpace discount codes. You’ll see.)
When you reach the bottom of this post, you will find an incredible reward. No peeking!
In the past, many customers who were buying a $10 book would simply add a couple of more books to make the total $25 in order to qualify for free shipping. Now you need another $10 on top of that. Suddenly, for some customers it might be better to just buy one book with shipping than to spend $35 or more.
(Some customers do have Amazon Prime. They get free shipping on eligible purchases regardless of the total. Perhaps the price change will get a few more customers to give Amazon Prime a shot. However, many customers don’t have Amazon Prime. Those who don’t may be reluctant to purchase $35 worth of books all at once.)
So how does this relate to CreateSpace discount codes?
Until now, many customers would rather buy a book at Amazon.com with free shipping than get a discount at CreateSpace because shipping isn’t free at CreateSpace. The new Free Super Saver Shipping requirements change this to some extent.
Customers who would now pay for shipping at Amazon will also pay shipping at CreateSpace. With shipping charges being roughly equal, now a discount code at CreateSpace may entice customers to shop there.
(Another hurdle is that customers must sign up for an account at CreateSpace. That’s true of most shopping sites. They don’t have to publish a book. They just need to enter minimal information to place an order. If the discount is compelling, it will be worth the effort.)
Do you want customers to shop at your CreateSpace eStore? That’s a good question you must ask yourself:
- The royalty rate is higher: 80% minus the author cost vs. 60% minus the author cost.
- However, if you offer a discount code, this cuts into your royalty.
- When customers buy your book at Amazon, it helps your sales rank. CreateSpace eStore sales don’t affect your sales rank.
- If a customer buys your book through CreateSpace and leaves a review, the review will show as an unverified purchase.
- Your book is probably on sale at Amazon. You may need to give 5 to 10% off just to compete. It may take 15% or more to entice customers over to your eStore.
- Discount codes help you reach customers who wouldn’t pay full price. If you can target customers who wouldn’t buy your book at Amazon because of the price, offering them a discount of 20% or more may get you sales that you would ordinarily miss out on. (But if your discount is large, you may earn a smaller royalty than usual.)
- Offering a discount at your eStore is a good way to create a short-term sale on your paperback. If you run an effective promotion for a short-term sale, you may succeed in gaining exposure. This might lead to more full-price sales at Amazon months down the road. There are some big IF’s here. Things might not work out this way.
- For books that tend to sell more often as e-books than in print, a discount code may help to stimulate more paperback sales. (Now ask yourself if that’s something you want to do.)
European customers can probably get much better shipping rates by purchasing directly through Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.es, or Amazon.it. They probably won’t be interested in your CreateSpace eStore if they have to pay international shipping charges.
Once you decide you would like to sell some books at your CreateSpace eStore, the next challenge is driving traffic there. Customers are very unlikely to discover it all on their own.
You must market your eStore and provide a link to it. An effective promotion can drive traffic there. One way to do this is to offer a compelling discount and be effective at spreading the word about it.
How do you make discount codes at CreateSpace?
- Click on a book from your dashboard to open its project homepage.
- Select ‘Channels’ on the ‘Distribute’ column.
- Choose ‘Discount Codes’ under CreateSpace eStore.
- Look for the ‘click here’ link in the paragraph above the table.
- This will create a new code. Click ‘View Codes’ to see them all.
- Copy and paste the code into the table (previous window).
- Choose dollars off or percentage off.
Enter a ridiculous amount, like 99% off, and CS will tell you the maximum discount you can offer. This way, you don’t have to guess or figure it out yourself.
If you want to make a royalty on the sale, don’t choose your maximum discount. The smaller your discount, the greater your royalty.
Here is the formula for computing your eStore royalty:
(List price — discount) x 0.8 — author cost = royalty.
Example: List price = $7.99, author cost = $2.53, discount = 20%.
($7.99 — 20%) x 0.8 — $2.53
= ($7.99 —$1.60) x 0.8 — $2.53
= $6.39 x 0.8 — $2.53
= $5.11 — $2.53
Make sure you are happy with your royalty. If you want to double-check your math, feel free to use the comments section below.
The link to your CreateSpace eStore will be https://www.createspace.com/titleid, where you must replace “titleid” with the numerical value for your title id (find it on your Member Dashboard). You can alternatively find the url for your eStore by clicking eStore Setup from the Channels page for your book (this will also let you customize your store).
Unfortunately, each book has its own store and you can’t consolidate them. However, you can add a Continue Shopping URL and Continue Shopping Text to let customers go back to your site, where they can conveniently find each of your books. (This reminds me, I haven’t done this yet…)
You can use the same discount code for multiple books. This makes it easy to put several books on sale for 20% off, for example. However, you must add the discount code to each book separately (use copy/paste).
Shipping is cheaper when purchasing multiple books. Encourage customers to buy multiple books at CreateSpace to reduce the per-book shipping charges. If you get together with other authors to create discount codes, promoting all of your discount codes may help to inspire multi-book sales and encourage customers to shop in your eStores.
A customer can use multiple discount codes on the same order, even if purchasing books by different authors. I tested this out. After logging out of my account, I went to two different CreateSpace eStores by different authors, added 3 books of one and 2 books of the other to my cart, and then entered my discount codes (save this until after adding all the books) one at a time. It correctly reduced the price when each code was entered.
(The discount code is only good on the book or books associated with it. John’s discount code won’t work on Sue’s book or vice-versa. But you can buy John’s and Sue’s books together, enter both discount codes, and CreateSpace will automatically discount each book correctly.)
If you decide to deactivate your discount code, return to the table of discount codes, check the box to delete the discount, and save your changes.
(As you probably know, CreateSpace discount codes are only good at CreateSpace. They don’t work at Amazon.)
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I promised an incredible reward.
This discount is good for 40% off all of my books at CreateSpace from now thru Tuesday, December 10. That’s crazy! Especially, since almost all of my books already have very competitive prices, $6.99 to $9.99, to begin with.
It’s good on my self-publishing books, math workbooks, fourth dimension books, science books, puzzle books, golf books, and chess books.
Why? I’m participating in Read Tuesday—a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers. Hopefully, this amazing deal, 40% off my paperbacks, will help attract a little attention. (I sell half a dozen paperbacks for every e-book. If I ever start publishing fiction, maybe that will change some.)
If you want to use this discount code, you’ll need to find my eStore. Click here to find links to my books at CreateSpace. Enter the code N6BSBJ36 to save 40% when you’re ready to check out. Offer is good now thru Read Tuesday, December 10, 2013.
No limit. Buy as many of my books as you want at these amazing prices. These would make nice gifts. You can also save on per-book shipping charges with larger orders.
It’s not just my books. Many authors will be participating in Read Tuesday on December 10. Check it out.
Don’t call me Crazy Chris. Call it Crazy Read Tuesday.
Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Volume 1 (formatting/publishing) and Volume 2 (packaging/marketing), Facebook page, Twitter