Tutorials

iTunes Promo Codes: What they are and how to use them

April 24, 2012
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Promotional codes for your ebooks are now available from iTunes. What this means is that you can distribute codes for your titles to reviewers or fans to allow them to download a free copy of your book from the iTunes store, avoiding all of those nasty shipping costs in the process! In this tutorial, we tell you everything you need to know to get started.

What are promo codes, exactly?

Promo codes are alphanumeric strings that are assigned to specific titles in the iTunes bookstore. The codes give a user free access to the assigned book from the iTunes bookstore, providing a cost-effective alternative to shipping print copies of books to publicity and promotional outlets. The best part? As a publisher, you can request up to 50 codes for each title you have on iTunes.

How do they work?

Once a code is entered into iTunes for redemption, a download of the specified title is triggered. The code will expire at the time of redemption, limiting the number of title downloads for each code to one. Similarly, the DRM that Apple applies to all ebooks to prevent sharing will still be in effect for users who download a promotional copy of your title.

How do I obtain my promo codes?

This part is easy. To obtain your promo codes, simply email your friendly, neighbourhood Digital Services Coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a list of the books you want codes for, their ISBNs, and the number of codes you want for each book. She’ll send you back a text file with the codes for the titles you've requested.

How do I use my promo codes?

You’ll want to distribute your promo codes to sources who can give your titles publicity or promotion. That’s what they’re for. The codes do expire, and quickly, they last for only 4 weeks after they have been issued, so make sure you distribute them as soon as possible.

Don’t worry about your book’s publication or on-sale date interfering with downloads, the promotional codes ignore those fields and deliver the EPUB file directly to customers, provided it is loaded on to iTunes.

How do I redeem a promo code?

To redeem a promo code you’ll need to access the iTunes store. If you do not have iTunes installed already, you’ll need to download it.

  1. Once installed, open iTunes and click on the iTunes Store link from the left menu, as shown below.


  2. Then, click on the “Redeem” link, located on the "Quick Links" menu on the right side of the screen.


  3. You will be taken to the redeem code screen. Enter your code and then click redeem to download a promotional copy of your title!