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How to Turn Your Amazon Kindle Into a Cash Register

| 03.22.2013 |

The Amazon Kindle has already changed the way that people read books, publications and digital media. And now, it can change the way that businesses earn revenue.


According to V. Michael Santoro, a managing partner of Charleston, S.C.-based Globe On-Demand LLC and co-author (with John S. Rizzo) of "Niche Dominance: Creating Order Out of Your Digital Marketing Chaos," the Kindle can be used to generate free business leads via the publication of Kindle-exclusive content. Yes, you read that correctly: free business leads. How does that work? Well, let's find out!


Q: Why would Amazon enable people to publish content for free as Kindle books? Where is their ROI on that unusual act of literary benevolence?


V. Michael Santoro: Amazon has an enormous customer database and with the Kindle explosion, they do not have enough content to satisfy the need. So they allow authors to publish their books and other content for free and pay royalties on all material sold. It is far from literary benevolence, as they make money on every piece of content sold from all those free author Kindle accounts.


Q: What kind of content are we talking about? Do you have to write a book? Or can you just write up a white paper or even a magazine-length article?


V. Michael Santoro: Any material that does not violate Amazon's TOCs is acceptable - both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to full-length books, short "how to" reports can also be published.


Q: How is Amazon marketing this content? Do they do targeted B2B marketing for business-focused content?


V. Michael Santoro: Amazon keeps track of their customer purchases and emails them when a new book in their genre is released. Additionally, they feature new books for a week to see how well they sell. As a book sells, they add it to the sales process ("Customers who bought this book, also bought…").


Q: And let's say that you're writing a book - why would you want to give it away for free via the Kindle?


V. Michael Santoro: Amazon provides the Kindle KDP program. If you provide Amazon with exclusivity for 90 days (renewable, they allow publishers to give their book away for free for five days every 90 days. The reason this is important is two-fold. First, the number of free downloads determines your books page rank in Amazon. With a significant amount of free downloads, a book can achieve an Amazon page one book ranking which can significantly increase sales when the free period expires.


Second, the free download readers can leave book reviews. This also helps with page rankings, and it adds credibility that increases sales.


Q: To date, what kind of response has Amazon gotten from this endeavor?


V. Michael Santoro: Explosive, to the point that they have implemented quality control measures to screen out duplicate content and general information books. Even mainstream publishers are realizing that this digital publishing revolution is the new paradigm.