With the recent release of the Kindle Fire by Amazon.com as well as Barnes & Noble’s color tablet, more people than ever are reading and interested in eBooks. Apple’s iPad remains (IMHO) the unquestioned leader in the touch tablet computing world, but the increasing number of eReaders and tablet devices at lower price points will likely make eBooks more common digital stocking stuffers this year than ever before in history. As an educator and educational leader, I want to encourage you this holiday season to consider giving copies of my eBook, “Playing with Media,” at a discount to other teachers in your school or organization. Getting your own eReader is a good step toward the goal of improving digital literacy, but finding great eBooks at affordable prices can still be a challenge. That’s where “Playing with Media” and Discounted / Bulk eBook Pricing options come in.

'Jul 2010' photo (c) 2010, erik forsberg - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Steven Sande’s November 22, 2011, article, “iBookstore promo codes a no-show for e-publishers,” highlights some of the interesting dynamics at play for eBook publishers, authors, and readers. Steven wrote:

iBooks publishers looking to send ebooks to reviewers, or who want to stir up interest in a new title through a giveaway contest, are out of luck. Unlike the App Store, publishers cannot create promo codes for the iBookstore… That can be a bit of an issue for publishers. The Amazon Kindle Bookstore, which also lacks a way to generate promo codes, at least makes it possible to buy Amazon gift cards in any denomination. This allows publishers to offset ebook costs for their recipients.

Independent eBook publishing platforms including Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, PubIt by Barnes and Noble, and Apple’s iBookStore all require contracts which forbid selling your ebook online at a lower cost than you sell it on their website. I’m thinking these contracts and policies seek to maintain profits for the publishers and prevent “a race to the bottom” for eBook prices, but as Steven notes they also impose some significant obstacles for independent writers wanting to generate buzz, reviews and sales around a new title.

Fortunately, I’ve found a good way to comply with these contractual requirements for consistent online eBook pricing but also provide some flexibility for schools and other organizations interested in purchasing my eBook (“Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing“) at a discount for larger quantity orders. I’ve configured my eBook information pages on both speedofcreativity.org as well as playingwithmedia.com to include “add to cart” options via E-junkie.com for all three eBook versions. E-junkie DOES let me generate and distribute discount codes for my eBooks, which can be for any amount. In some cases, organizations are ordering a fixed number of discounted eBook licenses, and with E-Junkie I’m able to provide them with download codes for those eBooks. (Those discount code amounts are for 100% since the discounted eBook cost has been paid for by the gifting organization.) In other cases, I can provide a short-term (time-limited) discount code for a special event. I’ve offered a 50% discount on the eBook, for example, for 24 hours following recent webinars and face-to-face conferences where I’ve presented the past few months. If I wasn’t using E-junkie’s extremely affordable service, however, I’m not sure how I could have done these things.

Recently, I was approached by the New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education, who want to provide copies of my eBook (at a discount) to all participants at an upcoming conference in December. Again, thanks to E-junkie, I was able to do this. Since my eBook is available in three different formats (enhanced EPUB for iPad, .mobi for Kindle, and standard EPUB for Nook & other eReaders) this discount code purchase option provides people with opportunities to purchase the specific eBook formatted for their eReader. For NHSTE, I provided flyers like the following for distribution to members and conference participants which includes their eBook download code:

I’ve created an inquiry form with Google Docs and embedded it in a new information page under eBooks titled, “Discounted / Bulk eBook Pricing.” If you’re interested in a quote for discounted pricing on my eBook, please submit it and let me know about your situation.

As educators, we are all “experts in literacy” in our communities. As literacy experts, we all need to be reading eBooks and sharing both their benefits as well as drawbacks with students, parents and others in our communities. If we haven’t read eBooks, it is impossible for us to have well-informed opinions about them. Consider giving “Playing with Media” to other educators in your school or educational organization! It’s a 21st century literacy gift which will hopefully have a “digital ripple effect” far into the future!

Remember I’m teaching a series of twelve workshops and videoconferences in December focusing on “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing.” The workshop/videoconference series is called, “The Twelve Days of Playing with Media.” Learn more on learn.playingwithmedia.com.

Hat tip to James Deaton for sharing Steven Sande’s article with me.

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