Dropcards for e-Books: Digital Downloads with a Difference

by | Mar 30, 2015

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
  • Lanyards
  • 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.

Dropcards cards

Examples of Dropcards

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.)

Dropcard redemption box

Example of a Digital Code Redemption Box

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

  1. Go to Dropcards.com and create an account.
  2. Decide what type of card you’d like to use for your project.
  3. 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.)
  4. Within 24 hrs of receiving your order Dropcards will send you a proof.
  5. 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:

Dropcards can:

  • 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.

ShelleySturgeon new headshot x125Shelley 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.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Growth Hacking

    Pela dedicação do administrador desse blog , não duvido que logo ele
    estará famoso . Conteúdos muito bons !!

  2. Sylvia Hubbard

    I love you… Both of you. THAT WAS FANTASTICAL!!!!

  3. Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux

    Thank you for posting this! I didn’t easily find info on the Dropcards site about whether or not I could upload a non-audio file. A google search brought me to your post!

    • Shelley Sturgeon

      Hope you’re able to find all the info you need about Dropcards in my post, but if you can’t, try contacting Dropcards directly. When I wrote the article, I found them to be very approachable and happy to answer any questions that I had,

  4. Kelly Blackwell

    Love this. I received what sounds like a dropcard for a download of an album from a band I just love about eight months ago. It really was brilliant!

  5. Frances Caballo

    What a wonderful post you’ve written, Shelley. I can see these dropcards being especially useful at writers conferences. I know I be much easier for me to pack 20 cards rather than 20 books. I do have a question, however. You wrote this sentence:”A website landing page is created by Dropbox for each digital download…” Did you mean to say dropcards instead of dropbox? I will be sure to mention this post in an upcoming podcast.

    • Shelley Sturgeon

      Oh dear! Must have been down a coffee or two that day! Yes, of course, I meant Dropcards, Frances! I’ll get that corrected. Good catch! Thanks!

  6. ctarwater

    Interesting. We’ve been making our own download cards for conventions and giveaways for a few years now by ordering double-sided business cards with the cover on the front and a QR code and shortlink on the back.

    I know presentation is a big factor, so I wonder if the hard plastic cards would generate more sales than a cardboard one.

    It’s been a sad realization though that few people buy them and even fewer actually download the book since I think the process of transferring books to whatever ereader you use is typically not worth the hassle for most people.

    • Shelley Sturgeon

      You might be right. Hard plastic cards might stand out a bit more than a paper business card type of card. The plastic ones would be more like gift cards that we can buy here (I’m in Canada) and I assume that can be purchased in the US.

      I guess the difficulty of the transferring process would depend on the setup of the download system itself, how easy to follow and accurate the download and transfer instructions are, and the technical smarts of the person downloading and transferring the ebook to the device.

    • Steve

      Hi Ctarwater –

      Something I wanted to touch upon that Shelley hadn’t mentioned, Dropcards also collects e-mail addresses and IP address locations standard with every order. This is a great way for you to connect with your end-users.

      There are multiple factors as to what will redeem better than something else. It’s everything from the level of end user engagement, to the ease of the download service provider.

      I tend to think the cards will make a better promotional item versus a sellable item as I think it’s a low cost, high perceived value item versus printing a galley for a conference or convention.

      Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you’d ever like to brainstorm on ways to use download cards.

      Thanks –
      Steve Ceragno
      VP / Business Development – Dropcards

      • ctarwater

        Thanks Shelley and Steve for the follow up.

        Shelley – I agree. The biggest thing is that no matter how simple the transfer process to an ereader is it’ll never be as seamless as a purchase/download from the device itself and that’s a turn-off for a lot of people I’ve talked to about it.

        Steve – We use bit.ly links on our cards and google analytics on the site to monitor downloads. That being said, I don’t want to come off like I dislike the service you guys are offering – quite the opposite. In fact, I know a lot of authors don’t have the desire/skill to set everything up and you guys seem to do it quite well.

        And yeah, we’ve found that the download cards make better promos that sellable items, especially for our permafree.

  7. Joe Martin

    Excellent article. I was looking into doing something like this, so this is very timely. Thanks!

    • Shelley Sturgeon

      Good luck with your project, Joe. Glad you liked the article.

  8. susan troccolo

    This opened up my eyes to some new ideas Shelley….great article, thanks.

    • Shelley Sturgeon


      Yes, I think the possibilities are endless! You could add photos, add an audio book or a short reading from your book…



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