By Shelley Sturgeon (@ShelleySturgeon)
A couple of years ago I wrote an article for The Book Designer about some of the options that were available to authors of e-books for distributing their e-books through bookstores and at booksignings (E-books For Real: E-book Gift Cards from Livrada and Enthrill.)
Recently I had the pleasure to speak with Steve Ceragno of Dropcards.com about what Dropcards can offer authors and small publishers when it comes to digital downloads for their e-books.
Consider the following scenarios:
- You’ve written an e-book and you want to:
- make it available to reviewers.
- sell it at bookstores.
- sell it at booksignings.
- give away another book, perhaps a prequel in your series along with the latest book.
- serialize it and make it available to your readers a chapter at a time.
- You’d like add a video greeting to the readers of your e-book to introduce yourself or maybe give them a peek into your secret world where you write your books.
Guess what? It’s all possible!
Dropcard offers the following options:
- Plastic gift cards
- Plastic gift cards with concealed codes that can be scratched off (like scratch and win lottery tickets) for bookstore sales. (Additional cost)
- Eco-friendly biodegradable gift cards
- Digital codes that you can send out via email.
The gift cards usually feature the artwork for the e-book cover but Dropcards is open to exploring other ideas for graphics on their cards.
A website landing page is created by Dropcards for each digital download, or, if authors and publishers prefer, they can embed the digital code redemption box onto their own existing websites. (Embedding the digital code redemption box is basically the same process as embedding a YouTube video onto a website if you’ve ever done that.)
You can find a couple of examples of landing pages by Dropcards here:
If you prefer, a custom website can be done for an additional fee. Steve showed me an example of a custom site where the author had included cover art for two more of his books on the site with links to Amazon where they could be purchased. I thought that was a great idea!
The digital redemption codes (on gift cards or for emails) are good for two years, but Dropcards is open to extending if necessary. And, if you change or update the content, the redemption codes can be re-used to download the edited or new content.
Hosting Your Digital Files
Dropcards offers up to 500MB of hosting space for your digital files with a standard package. But, here’s the good part: You can use this space for pretty much any type of downloadable digital file!
So, that could include audio books, e-books in whatever format you’d care to offer them (epub, mobi, itunes…), video, images, you name it!
And, if you’re writing an e-book and you want to serialize it and make it available to your readers a chapter at a time. – You can change the content that is being hosted by Dropcards and your readers can re-use the redemption code to download the next chapter.
Setting Up an Account with Dropcards
- Go to Dropcards.com and create an account.
- Decide what type of card you’d like to use for your project.
- Order your Dropcards and upload the graphics you want to use for your cards so Dropcards can begin work on your project. (You don’t need to upload your book media at this time, you can upload ANYTIME, even after you have the cards in-hand.)
- Within 24 hrs of receiving your order Dropcards will send you a proof.
- Once you approve the proof, Dropcards will ship your cards within 4 -8 business days from our New Jersey facility.
Easy peasy, right?
Consider the Possibilities
With the scenarios above in mind, consider:
- create gift cards or digital codes to facilitate the download of your digital content to send out via email, or sell at bookstores or booksignings
- host your e-book in whatever format(s) you want
- host your previously published e-book in whatever format(s) you want to go along with your latest endeavour
- host your media kit with your press release, author and cover images
- host a short video thanking the reviewers for taking the time to read and review your e-book, or maybe a video greeting to your readers to introduce yourself or maybe give them a peek into your secret world where you write your books?
Pricing and a Discount Offer
Currently the cost for 1,000 gift cards or digital codes with a standard landing page is $400 US. The minimum amount that can be order is 100 cards at a cost of 49 cents per card.
As a special offer for readers of The Book Designer, if you place an order before August 1, 2015 and use the coupon code Bookdesigner10, Dropcards will give you a 10% discount.
Is your imagination running wild? Can you think of other ways to take advantage of this flexibility? Let us know in the comments.
Shelley Sturgeon is the Senior Editor for The Book Designer and a virtual assistant who works with authors to help them create and maintain their author platforms. Interested in writing since childhood, Shelley hopes to one day complete her own novel. In the meantime, she enjoys working with her clients on their journeys to success. For more information, visit Shelley’s website Bound and Determined or find her on Twitter as @ShelleySturgeon.