BookBub vs BookGorilla vs The Fussy Librarian – Which is the best ebook marketing service?

bookbub bookgorilla fussy librarianYou’ve gotten your book on as many eBook stores as possible and worn your fingers to the bone publicising it on social media. But even the savviest operator (such as one who’s paid attention to our essential social media tips) can only do so much alone.
There are a number of promotional sites who can share the news with readers who have declared an interest in keeping up to date with the best eBooks around. In fact there are a lot of them, too many for any sane person to choose from.

To provide you some peace of mind we’ve compared three of the chief contenders: BookBub, BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian, and come up with the definitive conclusion on where you should go for your advertising.

What do they do?

All three sites offer a subscription service for readers, providing a free daily email which recommends eBooks for purchase. If your book meets certain conditions (and in most cases if you’re willing to pay) you can be recommended, advertising your book to their readership.

Subscribers have the ability to detail the genres they’re interested in, so all recommendations go to willing recipients with a stated interest in the subject matter. This kind of targeted marketing is a dream for you; everyone who sees your book is already interested in your genre and looking to buy. The Fussy Librarian distinguishes itself from its contemporaries by allowing subscribers to also indicate their taste in tone.

Do you only read mysteries without profanity, violence and sex? Then we’ll tell you only about cosy mysteries. Read just memoirs and gory horror novels? No problem.
- The Fussy Librarian

BookBub and to a lesser extent BookGorilla are more focused on telling their readers about special offers and bargains, which means you’ll have to make some concessions.

Requirements

Each site advertises a slightly different service and so the requirements for listing your book vary.

BookBub

BookBub focuses on special offers, and requires your book to be free or discounted by 50% for a limited period. They also won’t accept any books which have been offered for a better price in the last 90 days. This approach meshes perfectly with the discount promotions offered by schemes such as Kindle Direct Publishing Select. You can’t just cut the price of your book to get on BookBub, it has to be a limited time offer. Thankfully this kind of offer also encourages potential buyers to get a move on.

BookBub demands error free manuscripts and professional, appealing covers. They’ll only feature full length novels of 150 pages or over. While they will allow deviation from these rules for exceptional cases they’re a popular service and not starved for offers, so they’re unlikely to be flexible unless you’re currently the hottest thing on Amazon.

BookGorilla

BookGorilla is quality obsessed, advertising the best of the best, and has stringent requirements for listing.

If your book has less than a 4-star rating or fewer than 5 reviews on its U.S. Kindle store page, you should expect it to be rejected.
- BookGorilla

They’re less offer obsessed than BookBub but they still want to find their readership bargains, so they won’t accept any books within 30 days of a price raise. Short novels are accepted, they’ll advertise books of 100 pages and up, but they won’t tolerate any errors in your manuscript.

The Fussy Librarian

The Fussy Librarian lives up to its name, aiming to offer finely tailored recommendations to its readers. To this end it has some of the most stringent quality measures around.

10 reviews and a 4.0 rating on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or 20 reviews and a 3.5 rating if you have 10 reviews split between Amazon’s various stores.
- The Fussy Librarian

Part of why they’re so exacting in their requirements is that they make no promises to read the books they recommend. They encourage customers to report poor quality books or those which describe themselves inaccurately. This means The Fussy Librarian may be a lot more forgiving of less than professional presentation than its rivals but this shouldn’t be a concern for any author serious about their craft.

Pricing your book

Of course part of advertising your book is advertising its price and each site differs surprisingly on what’s recommended. Remember that with each service you’re pricing your books to compete with offers that will appear right next to yours.

BookBub

On top of having to discount by at least 50% for a limited period, BookBub rarely features books above $2.99. In fact they recommend pricing at 99¢ to stay competitive.

BookGorilla

BookGorilla makes it clear that 85% of their books are for sale below $1.99, and caution that they’ve never advertised a book for over $3.99.

The Fussy Librarian

Less concerned with bargains, The Fussy Librarian sets a maximum price of $5.99. With their focus on a discerning readership, the ability to charge far more isn’t unreasonable.

Charge for listing

Each site is providing a service and each wants something in return for listing your book. Charges can be calculated based on a myriad of factors, so make sure you do your research before committing to a service.

BookBub

BookBub charges are calculated according to your book’s genre and its price, with more popular genres costing more to advertise. The charge to list a free book will most likely hover around the $200 mark, while advertising a mystery novel for $2 or more will set you back $1,300. Their pricing guide can be found here.

BookGorilla

BookGorilla charges are also calculated by genre and pricing, but they categorize their genres in groups rather than individually. Most of their promotions cost $40 to $50. Pricing your book between $1.00 and $2.99 will bring the total to the $75-$100 mark, with an extra $100 added on for books priced over $2.99.

BookGorilla offers ‘Starred Titles’. These are books which receive prime placement in their emails and are specifically recommended to readers via a star icon. You can enter any book for consideration but Starred Titles are chosen according to the individual tastes of the BookGorilla team, and there’s an extra $100 charge if you make it.

The Fussy Librarian

The Fussy Librarian currently offers free listing, only asking that authors meet their quality requirements and try to spread the word about the service. They’ve made it clear that they’ll start charging once they have a larger subscriber base, but have stated that they won’t calculate charge according to pricing.

Whether you list your book at 99 cents, $2.99 or $4.99, you’ll pay the same price. We don’t think you should be punished for trying to make a living as an author.
- The Fussy Librarian

How many recommendations per email?

Your book will be advertised among others as part of each site’s daily email, so how many other novels will they have you competing with?

BookBub

BookBub has a maximum of three books per email, meaning your novel will really stand out.

BookGorilla

BookGorilla lists dozens of book in their emails, meaning you’ll be part of a long list. Subscribers can limit the amount of titles they see but there’s no guarantee you’ll appear on these reduced lists.

We allow our readers to select their preference as to whether their daily emails should include 12, 25 or 50 titles, and over 85% opt for 25 or more titles.
- BookGorilla

Becoming a Starred Title will put you in the first twelve entries but costs another $100 and is awarded on the whim of the BookGorilla team.

The Fussy Librarian

The settings on The Fussy Librarian are intricate enough that there’s no set number of books customers will receive. The high level of customization does mean that customers control how many books they see, so it’s unlikely you’ll be lost in a long list.

Potential Audience

The sites differ greatly in popularity, meaning the audience for your advertisement will change in size depending on the service you opt for.

BookBub

BookBub handily lists the potential audience per genre, along with the average sales figures for different schemes. Their downloads are measured in thousands, with 1.5 million subscribers receiving their emails.

BookGorilla

BookGorilla are reluctant to reveal their numbers as they’re still in a beta period.

We have been growing at such a fast rate that anything we said now on the subject would be outdated by the time it was passed around for just a few days.
- BookGorilla

They have claimed to have over 100,000 subscribers in the past.

The Fussy Librarian

The Fussy Librarian is a relatively new service which is still gathering a reader base. Though they don’t currently have the subscribers to rival BookBub or BookGorilla, they’re still at a stage where growth occurs dramatically.

Which should you choose?

BookBub is a high quality service with a huge audience. Due to their demand for special offers you’re unlikely to benefit financially but there’s little doubt your audience will swell dramatically.

BookGorilla are cagey about their numbers and their high volume emails are the kind of thing people delete from their inbox unopened. While they’re a lot cheaper than BookBub, it seems to be a case of getting what you pay for.

The Fussy Librarian may not have the reach of their competitors but as a free service they’re well worth trying. Their highly customizable service means that customers only see books they’re really interested in, which makes it more likely you’ll be seen.

If all three sites had the same number of subscribers then The Fussy Librarian would be the hands down recommendation. As it is, they’re still too junior to handle all your advertising needs, but at a cost of $0 you’d be a fool not to give them a try.

BookBub is where you should concentrate your efforts, especially when combined with the kind of discount promotions offered by schemes like Kindle Direct Publishing Select. While BookGorilla don’t demand the same price cuts as BookBub, their reluctance to provide sales expectations makes them a bit of a gamble. Exploring author reviews of BookGorilla’s service reveals more grumbles than recommendations, especially compared to the worship BookBub inspires.

My recommendation would be to cut prices and advertise on BookBub, building up some name recognition. After a reasonable period you can advertise at a higher price with The Fussy Librarian and trade on the good reputation you’ve established. As BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian grow, they may alter the way they do things, so keep a look out, but until that time, your focus should be on the opportunities offered by BookBub.

Alexander Hemus

Founder at Standoutbooks
Alex loves reading, he also loves everything digital. The advent of the ebook reader merged the two. Right now he is probably on his Kindle, developing clever digital marketing strategies to help you sell your books on-line.

Comments

  1. Fiona Ingram says

    Thanks for the excellent advice. There is something for everyone here. My book cannot be discounted so I am going to try The Fussy Librarian first. Will report back!

  2. says

    Ah! I have been WAITING for information like this. I used Bookbub+Book Gorilla and got VERY good results, but my book can’t be on a super sale or free FOREVER. Once The Fussy Librarian builds its audience, I will try them out. Actually, I think I’ll try them out now to see how the process is. :)

    What about Bookblast? I’ve used them. How would you say Bookblast measured up to these other services?
    Thanks!!

    • Alexander Hemus says

      Hi Inger,
      I’m glad you find this useful. It#s a good point about not wanting to discount your book all the time. The Fussy Librarian is growing fast and is currently at over 10k subscribers.

      I’ve not worked with Bookblast but I’ll be sure to check them out.

  3. Dean says

    Has anyone heard anything about Discount Books Daily? It looks like they will be opening up for advertising soon and I like that you can feature paperback books too.

    • Alexander Hemus says

      Dean, I haven’t heard about Discount Books Daily yet, however I’ll check them out. Being able to feature paperbacks would be a good feature.

  4. says

    Thanks, Standout.

    Looks like all I have to do is get on ‘FL’ or whatever the latest name is, asap before they up the price from its present zero, make sure the text is immaculate, get at least 10 x 4*reviews and wait for the avalanche of orders.

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