Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Your Thoughts on Book Giveaways

November 9th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


As I was going through my bookshelves and trying to clear way for new books I was thinking of holding some large giveaways to celebrate the holidays next month.  This got me thinking about giveaways in general, are they good for a blog, what are the best ways to have people enter, do giveaways prompt people who don’t win to buy the book, etc.

First, I started doing giveaways because I thought it was a good way to bring in potential new readers.  Then I received requests to do a few giveaways.  Now, my main reason for giveaways is either to clear my shelves or to promote a book I really liked.  I wonder though with each giveaway having so many entries and usually only 1-5 winners how many of the other people who entered actually go out and buy the book.  Are giveaways really a good method of book promotion?  Have you gone out and bought a book that you heard about in a giveaway?  Were you planning on buying the book anyway before you even entered the giveaway?

Then there is the matter of entries.  I started off just saying leave a comment with your email to enter because I hate giveaways that make you jump through hoops to enter.  As I started to see other giveaways offering various other methods of entry I thought those might be good ideas.  So I started offering extra entries for either becoming followers or for promoting the giveaway.  I don’t make those mandatory though.  I just figure if a person goes through the extra effort of promoting my giveaway why not give them another entry.  As for the followers/subscribers entry I heard some people say this is a silly thing to do because then you have people who only follow you for the giveaways or who unsubscribe when the giveaway is done.  Yes, I know this is true in many cases but I know at least in my case I have several blogs in my Google Reader that I kept because I found after following them for awhile they were blogs I enjoyed beyond their giveaways.  What do you think?  Can you gain any loyal followers by asking people to subscribe for extra giveaway entries?  Have you become a loyal fan of a blog after subscribing for a giveaway?  Do you prefer the extra entries or giveaways that just give everyone one chance by leaving a comment?

I’ve also heard of a few people who do not like to see book giveaways at all on blogs because they think it’s a cheap way of getting readers.  I disagree with that but would love to hear anyone’s opinions on book giveaways in general.

Things to think about as I plan my holiday giveaways.  I plan on giving away probably a little over 20 books next month.  I think I will group them into a few giveaways rather than individual giveaways just to make things easier and not to flood my blog with daily giveaway posts.   So keep an eye out and can’t wait to hear your thoughts about book giveaways.

Posted in Books

26 Responses

  1. Marjorie

    I think everyone should have one chance only, because the same people
    are winning all the books and they are the ones with multiple enteries.

  2. Elie (Ellz Readz)

    There are a lot of book blogs, more pop up every day. I found one of the easiest ways to draw people to my blog is contests. Once they are there, I hope they look around and decide to stay. If they don’t, well not every book is right for everyone and that goes for blogs too. At least they came by and checked it out.

    I usually do 1-2 extra entry chances. In my opinion, any more than that is too much.

    I have only been entering contests of books I am really interested in. In many cases, those books were on my wish list, but if I could win it, why not. I have purchased several books I saw on a contest.

    Happy Reading.

  3. flamingo1325

    Actually for me, there have been several books that I have gone out and bought if I didn’t win them- especially newer releases. Winning the book would be great, but I enter because its a book I will end up buying so why not try to give my wallet a small break? There have also been a few books I didn’t really know much about or look into much until I saw it in a contest.

    As for the following thing- I have become avid followers of several sites that I discovered through a contest and then just kept checking back. There are so many book blogs out there to follow them all in depth but I have my favorites, and several of those have been through contests and I ended up just liking the style of the blog and their reviews.

    And I am all for extra entries because if people are willing to take the time to do the things for it then why not reward them? Plus, those methods tend to promote not only your blog but also the books and authors. Even if the entrants don’t check back to the blog often, they still came and they still tried- and maybe its the blog owner’s layout, style, etc that didn’t keep them around and to me, it seems like a great way to learn to maybe keep trying to improve your blog rather than setting it up and leaving it at that.

  4. zia

    I think giveaways are a decent promotion tool. I have both purchased and checked out books from giveaways I did not win. As for gaining loyal followers, I’m undecided on that. I have gained a few loyal followers from them but I know there are that many more who don’t. I still think it’s a great way to promote your blog even if you only get a few loyal readers from it.

  5. Mary D

    Good questions :) I’ve wondered the same thing while I’ve been considering whether or not giveaways would benefit my own blogs.

    Personally, I like ONE entry and one entry only giveaways. And only 1 time have a bought a book seen on a blog, but that is more of a matter of economics due to the fact that I am currently unemployed. If I had the disposable cash, I would be buying a LOT more LOL

  6. Michelle

    I think giveaways are more a way to generate traffic to our blogs than much else. More importantly giveaways tend to be an administrative nightmare and super time consuming. It’s a preference as to whether a blogger want to undertake the task (obviously) but I don’t know what benefit he/she, the author or publisher really gets out of it in the end. If someone isn’t going to be compelled to purchase the book after reading the review then I doubt a giveaway would spurn that act either.

  7. L. Diane Wolfe

    I remember some marketing expert saying that before a book is released, one cannot give it away enough! I think for publishers & authors, it’s an opportunity to get the book into more hands and if it’s good enough, those people will tell others who will buy the book. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising.

    I’ve done a couple giveaways and only once did I add more than one way to enter. I will definitely stick with just one from now on, too!

  8. drey

    Debbie, you must be a mind reader or something.. I’ve been noodling on this topic for a bit now. I’m considering making some changes to my blog, probably around the new year.

    And yes, giveaways are a complete administrative nightmare. Which reminds me, I have 3 to close up & pick winners for. *sigh*

  9. Jenn M.

    Sometimes I enter contests for books I already planned on purchasing. If I win, then great, if not, I go buy it. I have also bought books because I heard about them on a giveaway. I think the best promotional giveaways are the ones tagged to a review or interview. That way some buzz is generated by the giveaway. I think that hosting giveaways DOES increase the traffic to your blog, but I think anyone who complains about that is silly. It’s your blog, AND you are giving away a book…something that costs you money.

    For entries…I go back and forth. Sometimes it’s really cool to get the extra entry by linking it to my giveaways page or to tweet about it. Other times, it seems like a chore. I also think that for every one person who doesn’t stick around after a giveaway, you gain at least one follower. I can’t prove it! Just my opinion! :)

  10. dsuzuki

    Marjorie-I can see what you are saying because I often see the same people winning books but on the other hand if they put the time and effort to do the different things it takes to get multiple entries then do they deserve the extra entries?
    Elie-I agree that giveaways bring in new traffic and I do hope some stick around.
    Flamingo-I’ve become followers of blogs I followed due to giveaways too. There are too many blogs out there to see unless there is something that makes them stand out. That’s why I don’t immediately unsubscribe after a giveaway is over. I stick it out and see if I really like the blog. if they are giving away a book that interests me that might mean we have similar tastes.
    Zia-glad to hear you buy some books you hear about on giveaways
    Mary, Michelle & Drey-yes, I have been waffling back and forth on giveaways. They are a lot of work but since I’ve discovered spreadsheets that has helped.
    L. Diane Wolfe-yes, that is what I hope. For the books I giveaway usually I am really hoping to get some buzz out there for them. Granted other times is just because I need the shelf space :)
    Jenn M.-I totally agree!

  11. Tracie Yule

    I agree with the above comments. I like giveaways where there is only entry and it’s easy. I have found new blogs through giveaways and have followed them. I don’t necessarily read every post, but I read them if I see something interesting.

    As for buying books, I’ve never bought a book because of a giveaway. I’m not 100% sure, I think I’m more swayed by a review, then a giveaway (which I never win anyway :)

  12. Laura's Reviews

    I have found a lot of great blogs that I first looked at due to giveaways. I never stop following after a giveaway and keep checking them out.

    I have gone out and purchased for myself or others based on the books I really want in a giveaway, but didn’t win. I sometimes have checked these books out of the library instead due to economic reasons!

    I like a couple different choices to enter and don’t feel it’s a problem to promote your blog. It’s only when it gets too crazy like 6 ways to win that it gets a bit annoying.

  13. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I used to do the extra entries thing until I realized how much WORK it was!!! GAH! GIveaways are work and I tend to shy away from them now.

    But yes, I have bought books I didn’t win….but I might have bought them with out without the giveaways. I think the blogosphere is really saturated with giveaways right now.

  14. Kayla

    I can tell you that if the book is something that I’m interested in reading, I’ll enter for it-I skip over books that I really am not interested in because I figure someone else who IS interested in it will like to win it over me.
    And yes, I may not go out and buy the book, but I will go to the library and check it out to see if it’s something I would like to buy.

    As for extra entries, I really like it when people give extra entries-I mean, if you don’t like doing that stuff, then just don’t do it.

    If I subscribe/follow you due to a giveaway, I don’t stop just because the giveaway ends-I’m not that kind of person. If you provided the time and effort to give a product away, then I believe it’s worth following/subscribing/reading your blog!

    All in all, I think your doing everything right!

  15. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    I think it depends on the follower and their purpose in the first place…if they are looking for free stuff and that’s all they are interested in, then yes, they will unsubscribe, but others may become a follower for a giveaway and realize the blog is something they would enjoy reading. and then there are those in between.

  16. dsuzuki

    Yes, I try to be selective on the giveaways I enter because I want to make sure it’s a book I will read. Reading some of the comments makes me think a giveaway may not necessarily mean more people buy that particular book but if they stick around your blog they may buy other books that you give a good review of.

  17. budletsmom

    I love the giveaways – it is how I discovered book blogs which I now love. I have learned about books I never would have otherwise and sometimes I go out and buy the book and sometimes not. I have bought a lot more books than I would have without the giveaways which drew me into the blogs. So I think it is good for the authors in the long run.

    I have subscribed to many blogs because of the giveaways and usually really like to continue to read them – both about giveaways and other stuff. I have yet to unsubscribe to any that I have subscribed to but I could see people doing that.

    I like it when there are a couple of ways to enter – couple of entries or if there are only one but when there are ways for people to get more than 5 I think it gets a little nuts – I refuse to facebook or twitter just to enter contests and agree that it just gets to be a little much when someone can enter 5+ times.

  18. Mystica

    So many aspects to this. From a personal viewpoint coming from Sri Lanka where books are prohibitively expensive the bookgiveaways are a
    blessing. It has enabled me to read books which I do not have a hope in hell of purchasing. One thing apart from cost is the fact that it takes time for some of the books to come out here. A Harry Potter will be here the next day, but some of the historical fiction for example due to a limited popularity/following may take upto 2 years.

    About the additional entries since most of you use the random organizer it is a question of luck whether you put one entry or ten! I have won 5 books so far and have only used one entry i.e. the comment entry only.

    About followers, I do not think its a cheap way of getting publicity etc because if you are interested in a blog, the style of writing etc it is useful to be linked because you automatically get updated.

  19. dsuzuki

    budletsmom-yes, I think I like having multiple entries but not an overwhelming way of entering.
    Mystica-I always wonder for countries outside of the US how long a delay there is in book releases. I also wish I come across more books from other countries. I’m curious how/if the writing style, stories, etc. are different. I wish I could afford to do int’l giveaways because you are the second person who mentioned how expensive books are in your country.

  20. CherylS22

    I think that giveaways are a great way of promoting a book. I have found so many books that I never would have looked at through the blogs. What I win, I share with my book group & spread the word that way. After everyone I know is interested has read the book, I then donate it to the public libary so many more people can enjoy the book. I rarely purchase books because I use our library pretty extensively.

    I have stopped following very few blogs. I enjoy all the input & opinions of the bloggers and I like reading author interviews and guest posts. I’ve also expanded beyond book blogs into other kinds of blogs. I think this is a great way to find information & share information.

    As for multiple entries into a giveaway, I have mixed feelings. Often times I only get one entry anyways because I am not a blogger & can’t post to a blog or because I don’t use twitter. I think if there is to be extra entries, it should be ones that everyone can do – such as following the blog, subscribing via RSS feed, etc. I’ve won my fair share of giveaways & I can’t say that the amount of entries allowed was a huge factor. It truly is just luck of the draw.


  21. Jill

    I like them – most of the time. I do think they bring traffic to your blog. It did mine BUT I hope they stuck around.

    The only part of them I don’t like are the crazy extra points one. Where you practically have to do a song and dance to get a few extras. I don’t mind the tweeting etc, but I rarely go beyond that.

  22. Deanna/ibeeeg

    I have been thinking about the same question lately.

    Giveaways – I love. I usually do stay with the blog that I start following due to a giveaway. However, there are a few that I realize do not match up with my interests and that is okay. For my blog, I am new to this whole giveaway thing. I would love for others to continue following after the giveaway. I giveway books that I am excited about or really want to share a read that I loved. Oh, giveaways do highlight a book and several have piqued my interest in a book due to the giveaway.

    Buying books that are featured as a giveaway? That is hard to answer. I do not immediately buy books as I usually ponder my purchases for a bit. However, the giveaways that I enter are books that are more prominent in my mind. For instance, The Historian, I entered several giveaways and have not won. I know that I will purchase this book soon because I really do want to read it and sounds very good. However, there are several books that I put more into my Library borrowing list and usually those are with the books that I put into my mental category of “fluff” no disrespect intended. Still, those books are prominent in my mind if my library does not have copy then I request for one.

    Entry rules: I like simple. Sometimes all I want to do is just enter once by leaving a comment. Other times, the opportunity for extra entries is appreciated. However, most times I will not enter if I am required to answer a specific question. I do not want to really think. Although, if the question is simple in nature for instance “Do you dress up for Halloween?” or “What is your favorite genre read?” then I will enter.

    So, simple entries with the not required extra entries (within reason, blog post/sidebar, tweet) are okay with me.

  23. suziqoregon

    I don’t enter giveaways so I automatically skip over any post that is a giveaway.

    What I don’t like is when a post is a combined review and giveaway post. I might want to comment on the review, but I would have to include saying to not enter me and most of the time I don’t bother to comment because I figure it’ll just get lost amidst the entries anyway.

  24. dsuzuki

    That’s a good point suziqoregon. Sometimes I get great comments on a giveaway post and want to reply but it tends to get lost in the comments. I’ve been trying to separate out my reviews from my giveaway posts recently.

  25. Patty

    I have to say as a newbie book blogger I love giveaways and I am totally fascinated with them so far…

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