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My understanding is that Amazon officially only allows publishers to list 99 cents as their lowest price. However, I've noticed that Amazon lists many Kindle books for free, but I am curious how this happens. Anyone have an idea?
 

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My understanding is that traditional publishers (and maybe well known authors too) can decide to offer a freebie through Amazon, and it'll happen (while we indies aren't allowed).

But usually I think it happens because Amazon matches any giveaway of the same book elsewhere that it learns about.
 

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The big pubs can set book prices to free, but us little KDP folks can't.  The free indie books that you've seen are the result of folks setting their prices to free elsewhere, usually on Smashwords, and Amazon price-matching.  It's a back-door method for getting your book listed free.  I have wondered when Amazon might decide to either stop doing that or start charging indies to give their books away, as it does cost Amazon a little something to do this.  They may have done the math, however, and found that giving away indie books ends up making them more money in the long run (especially with those authors who have tons of books out).

--Maria
 

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Amazon just dropped my short story Laundry Day to free yesterday, which I was happy about. I had notified them about the free price via the "let us know about a cheaper price" button on the product page - I notified them about the ibooks price and B&N price. It took a few weeks and then it just dropped yesterday, to over 520 downloads so far. I'm waiting to see what impact it has on my other books - I'm definitely seeing an increase so far. 
 

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I dropped the price of my book "What the Hell is up with Heaven?" to FREE on Smashwords. I then made a request for help from readers to post the lower price to Amazon. A couple of days later, the UK price dropped to zero, but the US and DE prices stayed the same... kinda disappointing - I really wanted it free across the board. I did give away nearly 400 copies in a couple of days, so I was happy about that.

I'm still waiting on reviews to be posted - none have come in so far (bummer). On the positive and brighter side, I've had an uptick in sales on all my other books, including "Tear in Time", which the price was just recently raised to 2.99, so that really WAS a big boost to morale - whoohoo ;D

Although the extra money was nice (it really wasn't that much extra - lol), I have to say, the biggest reward I received from it was the comments on forums by readers telling me that they loved the book. Dang, that was such a thrill. To me, that's what it's all about! It many it all worthwhile.
 

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meromana said:
The big pubs can set book prices to free, but us little KDP folks can't. The free indie books that you've seen are the result of folks setting their prices to free elsewhere, usually on Smashwords, and Amazon price-matching. It's a back-door method for getting your book listed free. I have wondered when Amazon might decide to either stop doing that or start charging indies to give their books away, as it does cost Amazon a little something to do this. They may have done the math, however, and found that giving away indie books ends up making them more money in the long run (especially with those authors who have tons of books out).

--Maria
Amazon did not match free prices until a few weeks ago (other than a couple of test runs in the fall). In February they changed the rules so that freebies never get a royalty to set up for this new policy.

Right now, we can't tell if they are trying to match every free price -- but we do know it works a lot like their other price matching in that it's erratic and you can't predict when it will start or stop (or if the match will ever happen at all).

As for why Amazon would do it -- it's for the same reason Smashwords does it, and the same reason they give unnecessarily broad terms to affiliates; because it attracts customers, keeps customers and gets customers to stick around and buy more.

But the biggest reason Amazon does it is because Amazon loves data, and this gives them way more data about customer behavior.

Camille
 

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ChristopherDavidPetersen said:
I dropped the price of my book "What the Hell is up with Heaven?" to FREE on Smashwords. I then made a request for help from readers to post the lower price to Amazon. A couple of days later, the UK price dropped to zero, but the US and DE prices stayed the same... kinda disappointing - I really wanted it free across the board. I did give away nearly 400 copies in a couple of days, so I was happy about that.
How long did you wait before you recruited readers to report you? Are the books listed for free on iBookstore, B&N or Kobo? That seems to be criteron, so far.

Camille
 

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daringnovelist said:
How long did you wait before you recruited readers to report you? Are the books listed for free on iBookstore, B&N or Kobo? That seems to be criteron, so far.

Camille
I'm published on Smashwords so I think it covers all those other oulets. It only took a couple of days before a comments "trickled" in.
 
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