On an author’s recommendation, I signed up for BookBub, a service that sends daily emails about ebook deals from multiple sites based on my preferences. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say it’s worth it. Even if the name makes me think of Wolverine.

Actually, the idea of Wolverine sending me emails about books is pretty darn cool.

Actually, the idea of Wolverine sending me emails about books is pretty darn cool.

The service is free to consumers (content providers can pay to have stuff promoted). They do, obviously, collect your email address and taste preferences; but I haven’t noticed any evidence that they’ve sold my information to others (and their privacy terms state that while they share information, they do so anonymously and only in regards to BookBub’s own services as provided by any third parties). That suggests that they might be planning on an expansion later, but for now I can’t find a downside.

BookBub offers the following services:

  • A daily or weekly email (you choose which, or none at all) that tells you what deals are available on ebooks based on your preferences regarding genre and seller.
    • There are six sellers to chose from: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and Smashwords.
    • There are 33 genres to choose from (ranging from staples like science fiction, mystery, and romance to more targeted categories based on race, sexual orientation, and age; there are also several non-fiction categories), as well as three that only show up on the site: Recommended for You (a repeat of the email), Latest Deals, and Free Ebooks.
  • A “follow” list, where you can set up notifications based on author. I haven’t been using mine long enough to have benefited from it, but I like the idea of getting notified whenever a particular author has something discounted.
  • The content is curated. That means, among other things, they try to only feature works that are “well-formatted and free of typos and grammatical errors.” Let me tell you, that’s valuable. I don’t expect it to be 100% effective, but I like the effort.
  • Curating means they aren’t going to set up an automatic algorithm, and they offer a promotion service where publishers and authors can pay to have their books listed during a sale or giveaway. They offer a pricing guide that I find fascinating just for the statistics. (They list subscriber totals, average number of downloads, and average number of sales, all by genre.) I intend to investigate this in the future to see if the service is worth recommending to authors and small presses.

The content categories I’m signed up for are: science fiction, fantasy, supernatural suspense, teen, middle grade, histories, and bestsellers. I’ve been getting a lot of YA and middle grade selections as a result, but I like to keep an eye on those as I wind up getting asked for suggestions by parents.

The content skews heavily toward self-published and small press books, but that’s to be expected and I assumed that going in. Since I work with self-published authors and small presses, I don’t consider this a bad thing. Any book listed is at least 50% off or lower, including free.

The service also only covers full-length books, not short stories, novelettes, or novellas (though they specify that this is a “current” policy, which suggests they may reconsider at a later date). They do promote anthologies, as well as box sets and omnibuses. Their definition of a full-length work is 150 pages for adult or young adult fiction, 100 for nonfiction or middle grade fiction, 70 for cookbooks, and 20 for children’s picture books.

They also do not feature the same book more than once every six months, or the same author more than once every thirty days. That insures that you’re getting a semi-constant turnover of new options to pick from.

Overall, I think I can safely recommend this service.