On 2 August, Draft2Digital, ALLi Partner Member and one of ALLi's favorite book distributors, introduced a new service called “Universal Book Links,” or UBL. We asked Kevin Tumlinson, Draft2Digital's new Director of Marketing, to tell us more about it.
UBL is designed to deal with one of the biggest pain points for indie authors—discoverability.
Basically, a UBL will let an author create one master link that will deliver readers to every place their book appears online. So instead of having to keep a spreadsheet or bullet list of everywhere their book(s) appear online, they can use just one link.
It also lets readers select their preferred store, so any time they click a UBL it can default directly to their favorite bookshop online.
Our challenge with this has been to make it dead-easy for authors. Here's how it works:
You drop in the URL for your book from one location, such as its Amazon Kindle product page, and Books2Read scans the metadata for that book, then finds it everywhere it can be found online. It then gives you a UBL that you can share in blog posts, social media, emails, interviews, and anywhere else. One link to rule them all, basically. And as is pretty standard with D2D, we’re making it free for everyone to use—not just D2D authors.
I’m an author myself, and I’m already using these links in my upcoming releases. I’m actually driving myself crazy thinking of all the ways I’ll be able to leverage these for promotion.
- UBLs can be used in emails, social media posts, podcasts and blogs, and even on print materials, so they’re very easy to share. But the real kicker is that even as new stores come online, the author can go to their Books2Read dashboard, refresh the link (tell it to perform a new search), and all new storefronts will be added. The author won’t ever have to search and find old or broken links—every existing link can be up to date with everywhere the book appears online.
- Authors can put simple, single-link CTAs in their books that will point readers to the right storefront for buying additional work, regardless of where they got their hands on the first book. So authors can offer a free book, short story, or anything else as a top-of-funnel freebie, and the reader can link to the storefront of their choice. No need to create multiple versions of a book, or include ugly lists of multiple CTAs and URLs.
- Authors can create their own “stores” on their websites or blogs, using UBLs to direct readers to anywhere the books are sold online. This eliminates the need for a complicated ecommerce solution, and for dozens of links per book (which cuts down on visual clutter).
- Once the reader has picked their bookseller of choice, UBLs remember their preference. So the next time a reader clicks a UBL they’re taken directly to that book on that retailer’s site. That eliminates a click (or several) from the process—just one click between the reader and the book’s sales page
- Authors can embed their affiliate IDs in the links, so that they can get additional income from affiliate sales.
- Bloggers, publishers, and anyone else who communicates about books to the public can create links themselves, with embedded affiliate IDs, and post them for their readers to use.
There are probably a dozen more benefits for using UBLs, actually. But the biggest is that they help remove one of the barriers to discoverability. One simple link, and readers can connect directly with an author’s work. That’s huge.
We invite all our ALLi friends to try it out.
If you're a Draft2Digital author, all of your books already have Universal Book Links assigned to them, ready for you to use. These links contain all of the stores we know about (everywhere your book is published through Draft2Digital). If you want to take advantage of this handy new tool, simply visit your Universal Book Links dashboard on Books2Read. You can find a link from My Account, or, if you want to edit a UBL directly click the pencil icon beside the UBL on your Draft2Digital My Books dashboard.
Click on any of the links in the list, and you'll be able to add links to that same book on other stores (most importantly Amazon). Once that's done, your link is ready to share. We make it easy for you to promote your book everywhere it's available, and easy for readers to find that book at their own favorite stores. Everyone wins.
If you'd like to know more, you can read a detailed description of Universal Book Links at Books2Read.com or check out the FAQ.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.