The Pros and Cons of Goodreads Giveaway Service

We are all for giveaways. We love the joy and excitement it brings to readers and we love the attention it brings to authors. Giveaways reinvigorate sales after a lull, they bring new readers and followers to your brand and they give you more opportunities to get reviews on marketplaces and Goodreads.

Today we wanna talk about Goodreads Giveaways. We're still getting to know Goodreads but there are some pros and cons to their Giveaway program.

We want to be clear that we are not affiliated with Goodreads or recommending these services at any financial gain to ourselves. We have not been asked to review these services and are just doing this to give our readers some info!

First of all, here is a link directly to the Goodreads website and their info about the Giveaway service. Their website doesn't discuss the cons of the service, it's more of a sales page, so let's hash it out here.

Let's start with the Cons.

This service costs money. 119 bucks to be exact, and we ain't even talking premium services.

WAIT! Don't run away yet. We'll get to the pros soon. We know that paying this much for a giveaway might seem crazy but we'll get around to it... This is a con because there are FREE ways to give away your books, not because it costs a lot. The price in itself is not our issue with the $119...

Unknown Authors may not have the easiest time getting traction on their giveaway.

Based on other authors feedback, we have heard that as an indie or self-published author, they found it harder to reach readers due to how unknown they were. We don't currently have an opinion on this. Our company has not used the service, however, every author we have spoken with has said something similar. 

We are planning to use the service soon and will update this article when we have more knowledge about traction.

Giveaways are only offered in the U.S. and Canada.

If you're trying to reach readers outside of these areas... Sorry! There are other ways to reach international readers however and we will chat about those another time.

You have to be on KDP to giveaway an eBook.

This may not be a con because lots of authors are on KDP however, allowing your eBook on other marketplaces such as Barnes and Nobels or iBooks is something that an author has the option to do. In order to giveaway eBooks in the giveaway, they have to be on KDP.

Each book costs $119 to give away...

Unless you create a box set so that all three books fall under one ASIN/ISBN. This rule is for eBooks because paperbacks roll a little differently. A small rule of thumb is to try a service first with just one book and if you like it, then running more than one at a time is up to you. 

You are responsible for mailing Paperbacks.

I mean, no matter how you give your books away, you are responsible for mailing paperback books, but if you're paying $119 dollars...

Okay, let's get Positive!

Here are the pros.

The giveaway section is wildly popular on Goodreads and you could be discovered.

We all know that selling your book is not about Traditional Publishing but about the copy (book back, blurb), the cover, the quality of the book itself, and the reviews. This means that your giveaway does have a chance of being noticed, despite the stigma. If you have an awesome cover and when people visit the book page they can read an engaging book blurb, they will be interested in your giveaway.

As further proof, check out this link to the Crime giveaways.

I saw a book being given away by a self-published author about 10 books from the top. You have to dig for the info, but it's there. When I isolated the giveaway to Kindle books only, I found one even higher up the list. Check out this awesome giveaway!

Kate Anslinger is an independently published author. A very professional one at that! As you can see here, her 100 Kindle copies are desired by 333 people currently and her giveaway still has 7 days on it at the time we wrote this article.

Obviously everyone's results will vary, but this is still pretty cool to see.

Goodreads "advertises" your giveaway.

There is a long list of places your Goodreads giveaway will be seen on the site.

  • They will start by putting the Giveaway button on your books info page so anyone who visits there will know there is a giveaway.
  • Next, they will automatically notify your followers on Goodreads and anyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list.
  • Then, everyone who entered your giveaway automatically has the book added to their "Want to Read" list, if it wasn't already there.
  • And MORE!
  • Including the fact that when someone enters your giveaway, their friends can see it in their feed. So now, Friends have seen your book as a giveaway and as their friend "wanting to read" it.

This is an interesting little form of word of mouth.

YOU can share your giveaway anywhere.

Your giveaway has its own link! Although your readers do have to be members on Goodreads to enter, you are free to share a link to your giveaway page on social media, your blog, website, etc. Thus you can also drive traffic to your own giveaway.

Goodreads automatically sends Kindle eBooks to your winners. You.Do.Nothing.

So uh, yeah, for $119 you can giveaway kindle books without gathering emails or harassing social media followers for confidential info. Goodreads handles it all. Not to sound biased (because we haven't used the service and we don't have a firm opinion yet) but that part of the service makes us pretty happy.

You can offer up to 100 Kindle eBooks... for the same price as 1... which is $119.

Yes, Goodreads will send 1 Kindle eBook for $119 or 100 for $119 dollars. What?

So... some people comment that this is too good to be true... Let's speculate about how it's possible for them to offer this service to us which might make you feel a little better about taking advantage.

First, if they don't have to distribute paperbacks, which they don't, then they charge $119 to distribute nothing on paperback giveaways. That's $119 just for Goodreads to set up a giveaway page for the book and make sure the appropriate links work...

Second, Amazon owns Goodreads... moving on.

Goodreads reminds readers to leave a review.

Oh, snap! That's pretty cool. That's worth at least $19 in itself. lol. Eight weeks after the giveaway is over Goodreads emails a reminder to winners, asking them to review the book. The cool thing too, if you do the Kindle giveaway, they can review on Amazon too. Goodreads doesn't remind them about the Amazon review, but we'll cross our fingers that they remember to head over to Amazon and leave a copy of their review.

Goodreads has 90 million users.

Yup you heard that right. 90 million possible people learning about your book and entering your giveaway. Our editor in chief has over 6,000 followers on Twitter and that is obviously nowhere near 90 million, so her social media eBook giveaway will not see anywhere near the potential entrants as a Goodreads giveaway could potentially. With an audience like that, your odds of having a successful and easy giveaway seem assured.

We're sure there are tons more pros and cons to this service but you'll never really know how you feel about it unless you try it. We are not endorsing this product or guaranteeing any results, but we do believe that the best way to find out if something works for you is to try it!

Once we try this service, we will share any info or experiences we get during the process!

Do you have any info about Goodreads Giveaways? Comment below!