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SPQ 066: Free PDF vs. Kindle Book

Written by Steve Scott on April 6, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question

Chris asks: I’m working on my first book and free PDF. It hit me that I could also make my free PDF a Kindle book and just give away the PDF to my newsletter subscribers. Do you have any thoughts on this idea?

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

Chris is talking about a lead magnet, which is a free piece of content you use to build your email list. Steve covered this in detail in episode 7. It’s not clear if Chris is talking about selling the second book or giving it away for free. If you want to learn more about the perma-free strategy, check out episode 6.

Technically, you can sell your second book even though you give it away as a free PDF, but it’s not a good idea for several reasons.

You’re trying to build an authority brand with a catalog of books that tackle specific problems. You want to get as many people as possible on your email list, so you don’t want to create roadblocks to getting subscribers.

If someone sees your book is $0.99 or free on Amazon, they might download it, but there’s no incentive for that person to join your list. You’re not giving them a solid reason to check out your website, diminishing the impact of your email list.

You should have a high-converting offer, which means your lead magnet should convert readers to subscribers.

People might also get ticked off if they see the book is free on your website and $0.99 on Amazon. They might even leave negative reviews letting other people know you are giving the content away on your website.

It’s good that Chris is thinking about multiple uses for his content. Steve has a few suggestions.

One is to create two email lists: one for Kindle readers and one for people who visit your website, blog, or YouTube channel. Post one lead magnet to your website and the other on one Amazon to connect with both audiences.

You could also take your second PDF and make it perma-free on Kindle, but it might diminish the value of the content.

You can do many things with free content, such as having multiple perma-free books. If you’re into the Paleo diet, for example, you might have a Paleo recipe book, a book about Paleo fitness, and books on related topics.

If someone is reading an in-depth Paleo diet book, you can get them to sign up for your email list by offering a shorter piece of content.

You could also list links to your free content in your books. If you don’t ask people to opt in, you won’t get more subscribers, but you’ll know that they are interested in the content.

Steve doesn’t necessarily think Chris should sell the second book on Amazon. Check out episode 57 to learn more about repurposing content and using it to build your authority on Amazon and other platforms.

Resources and Links

SPQ 007: Steve discusses the importance of using a lead magnet to build your email list

SPQ 006: Find out how to use the perma-free strategy to build your business

SPQ 057: Learn about all the ways you can repurpose content in your book-based business

  • Hi Steve – just want to clarify. Are you recommending that the book or content a reader gets in exchange for their email address should not be available anywhere else (such as Amazon, etc.) to provide the most enticement? Thanks!

    • Dan — Yes, in my opinion, you want your lead magnet to be completely exclusive for your email list. That way, it will be a compelling offer that the subscriber can’t get anywhere else.

  • Totally agree Steve. I once bought and read a book and found out later that it was free on the author’s site. I didn’t leave a bad review, but it did make me question that author’s tactics and I haven’t read another book of his since.

    • It’s hard. You want to spread your marketing reach, but at the same time, it’s bad business to be deceptive with your marketing.