To celebrate Book Merah's tenth birthday, four books were given away on Amazon: Bali Wave Ghost, Fires, Obama Search Words and Furikake.
Stephen Black, the author of three of the books and the founder of Book Merah was based in Bali at the time of the event. He has also lived in Singapore for most of the past fifteen years. Thus, some of the following points may be unique to Bali, Indonesia and Singapore.
Notes from an Ebook Giveaway that took place on April 8-12, 2016
1. AMAZON BUNDLES THE REQUESTED EBOOK WITH OTHER BOOKS. I was told that the bundle included Pride and Prejudice, Aesop's Fables and Treasure Island. This is not a problem, but when I was told that the download included books besides mine, I was shocked!
2. AMAZON REQUESTS/SUGGESTS RECIPIENTS WRITE A REVIEW?The person who wrote the following is not a native speaker, but it seems like Amazon suggests or asks that the person who downloads the book.... also writes a review?
From the email of someone who downloaded on of my books:
"...and in order to be able get your books, I should visit Amazon which review your books. Is that correct?" I do not have a Kindle and have not yet downloaded any ebooks so I cannot comment. If you have downloaded a free ebook (from anyone) can you tell me if Amazon suggests you write a review or not?
3. DOWNLOAD COMPLICATIONS 1. ... Same person as above, a few minutes later:
"I gave up for now. Does not work when I tried to download your book. I'll try later on". This comment may be linked to the slowness of the internet. No other complaints like this were reported.
4. DOWNLOAD COMPLICATIONS 2
"I can't download your book. The price is still displaying so if I put them in the cart I assume they will charge me. I'll ask my friend who is using kindle" Hmmm
5. INDONESIA DOWNLOAD RESTRICTIONS. My friend Komang received this message from Amazon:
Komang, this title is not available for you.
Due to copyright restrictions, the Kindle title you're trying to purchase is not available in your country: Indonesia.
Did you recently move to a new country?
"You can easily update your country for your Amazon account."
Not sure what the answer is here. Is it related to the content of my books? I doubt it. Obama Search Words includes a couple of chapters set in Jakarta, where he lived as a child, but, in my opinion, the chapters contain nothing offensive or anti-government. The stories are even a bit nostalgic. I Ate Tiong Bahru is about the food and history of a community in Singapore. Bali Wave Ghost is set in Bali and I can't imagine why it would be considered troublesome. Cyril Wong is an award-winning poet and his book, Fires, is not inflammatory. Perhaps Amazon sees downloading books in Indonesia the same as downloading to pirates who would copy the books and sell them illegally? I would welcome this, actually. Are my books so popular that bootleggers want to copy them? Great!Are readers are so desirous of my books that they will risk getting viruses from illegal vendors? If so, I wish they would just write to me and ask for a free copy! Happy to give them one!
6. AMAZON DOES NOT PROVIDE EBOOKS TO SINGAPORE (and other countries)
Actually, at the time of this writing the ebook giveaway will continue for about another 12 hours. You are invited to read the books. Any feedback or questions about this post or the books are much appreciated.
I have been collecting notes for a post that reviews what went wrong and what went right with my free download campaign. Subscribe to the blog if you are interested...