Digital Comps is the name of a very simple service that lets book publishers send out, and track, secure free copies of their ebooks to instructors, reviewers and booksellers.
It’s a sophisticated, enterprise-level platform, with no setup or subscription fees. Just a flat $2 or $3 per freebie.
Some of the world’s biggest publishers have used Digital Comps for a decade, with outstanding results. No matter how extensive or rudimentary your web presence, if you already offer your books through eBooks.com, you can have DCs set up an running in minutes.
You don’t need any coding skills; there’s nothing to integrate. Anyone who can type can set up a DCs account. It’s so easy but the final product is so impressive.
Your own brand all over the place
A great thing about DCs is that it operates like your own, fully branded system. It’s not branded “eBooks.com” but has your own colours and images everywhere. And you’re not sharing a user-facing platform with dozens of publishers. It’s your own site.
Digital Comps: what are they good for?
DCs are the perfect solution when you want to give away access to an ebook, but with DRM controls in place. You can also sell a voucher code direct to a consumer, rather than sell it through an existing sales channel. Here’s what you can do:
- Examination & desk copies for instructors
- Review copies
- Reading copies for authors
- Freebies for bloggers & journalists
Really, DCs are just cheaper, faster and more effective than mailing out a print book.
Upload files as you always do
As an eBooks.com supplier, you already have login credentials to our Publisher Interface for managing your inventory, and an FTP account for uploading your ebook files and metadata. So uploading content to the DCs system is just more of the same. There’s no addition to your production workflow.
In fact uploading content for DCs is simpler because the DCs system only requires minimal metadata. So if you want to send out a bunch of proofs very early in the cycle, you can do so without having to supply each last itty bit of metadata to us. All that extra stuff comes later, when the book is about to launch.
e-inspection copies that inspire, and expire
You can decide whether to make your ebooks available via voucher as perpetual or expiring access, and you can also do this on a customer-by-customer basis.
So, for example, you can make it so that the digital comps you distribute will expire (can no longer be redeemed) after the book’s on-sale date. This is in your hands.
How this works: push and pull
There are two broad ways to use this system: e-requests and promotions. You can enable visitors to your site to request a copy of the books in your inventory (e-requests), or you can prospectively send out a bunch of vouchers to a targeted audience (“promotions”).
Add little link to each of your books’ product pages.
When a visitor to your site clicks on that link, they are able to request a reading copy of the ebook. You’ll receive a notification and the simple option to approve or decline the request.
The request system looks after everything. For example, if a user is known to you, you can make them “unmediated”, meaning they can get a freebie next time (within certain parameters) without having to wait for your approval.
There are lots of other bells and even more whistles. It’s a very responsive, automated, intelligent system.
Some publishers routinely send a small batch of vouchers to each author as their book is released. You can distribute vouchers prospectively to marketing staff, booksellers, reviewers — anyone. And then you can see the effects. Did they actually read the books?
Only pay for actual usage
If you send out 500 vouchers in a promotion but only 50 are redeemed, you only pay for those 50. So there’s no risk here.
Interesting, quite detailed reports
The Digital Comps platform includes a useful admin portal that enables you to manage users, send out promotions, etc., and it includes usage statistics that can be downloaded as Excel files.
You can track the progress of promotions and see details of usage. The reports show how many times a promotion was redeemed, and how many times those individual users either downloaded the ebook or read it online. You can see how long after they redeemed the promotion the users actually started reading, how long they spent reading, and the most popular pages and search terms.
Time is running out to test drive digital comps
If you’d like to experience how easy and effective DCs can be, just ask for a free, no-obligation trial. No obligation. We won’t even make you feel bad if you choose not to proceed. We will celebrate your rejection! But you won’t. Because this thing is amazing.
Act now before the universe grinds to a silent halt.
* Actually, the headline that says we’ve issued a million of these little guys is a complete lie, or alternative fact, if you will. We’ve really sent out 327,198 DCs, for 28 publishers. But, in the spirit of the times, is that newsworthy? Does it warrant a re-tweet? No, certainly not. And we at eBooks.com are nothing, nothing if not re-tweetable. Anyway, DCs are really, really big. Probably the biggest. Actually bigger than anything ever. And you need to just get with the DCs program.