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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've asked this question in the past, because at the time I thought that publishers still got paid if Amazon discounted the ebook 100%.
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you would end up getting nothing if the book is discounted 100%.  My real question is HOW in
the world do you get Amazon to give that 100% discount?

If you offer it for free on Smashwords?  I tried that and it wasn't successful.  Anybody have any answers on this one?  What about
confirmation on the publisher not getting paid if Amazon does the 100% discount.  I appreciate any help.  Thanks!
 
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Books priced at $0 now earn $0.00. It is impossible to do anything to get Amazon to drop your prices, but you do have to make sure it's available for free elsewhere. Then you just wait and hope you're magically selected. A lot have been becoming free lately, and so it's not the huge windfall and boost in readership it once was, but it can help.
 

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As an author who has now had a book offered twice for free at Amazon, I can honestly say that how one gets their book set to free in the Kindle store is one of the best kept secrets in town. Amazon has not released any information regarding why they decide to lower the price of certain indie books for free. However, the one constant is that price-matching seems to be in play. If Amazon finds a particular book at a competing ebook store that is being offered for free, they may choose to match the book price and offer the same book for free. Most of the authors, including myself, have offered our titles for free at Smashwords. It seems Amazon is very selective about which books they price match to zero. But, several factors seem to come into play, including which ebook store Amazon has its sights on at the time they decide to lower a book's price to free.

Edit: Just wanted to add that Amazon's new policy states that if they decide to match your book price to free, you don't get paid any royalties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to you both for your responses.  I had been sticking with the 35% royalty at 99 cents since the book came out in February.
Since then, there have only a few times when the book has made it to the top 100 in its genre.  Sales are down to about 5 or 6 per
day.  Yesterday, I switched it to 70% royalty at $2.99.  By this morning, Amazon had caught it and reduced it back down to 99 cents.
That actually is going to help a lot.  Instead of 35 cents per book, I should be making 70 cents per book (as far as I know).

On Monday morning, the Vampire's Warden will be featured as the ebook of the day on Kindle Nation Daily.  I'm hoping the switch I
made yesterday will prove to be a good decision.  ???
 

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SJWrightAuthor said:
Thanks to you both for your responses. I had been sticking with the 35% royalty at 99 cents since the book came out in February.
Since then, there have only a few times when the book has made it to the top 100 in its genre. Sales are down to about 5 or 6 per
day. Yesterday, I switched it to 70% royalty at $2.99. By this morning, Amazon had caught it and reduced it back down to 99 cents.
That actually is going to help a lot. Instead of 35 cents per book, I should be making 70 cents per book (as far as I know).

On Monday morning, the Vampire's Warden will be featured as the ebook of the day on Kindle Nation Daily. I'm hoping the switch I
made yesterday will prove to be a good decision. ???
I believe if you are in the 70% royalty category and Amazon drops you to 99 cents for price-matching purposes, you are dropped to the 35% royalty category.

Sorry...
 

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Until about two weeks ago, Amazon only very rarely matched a free price. (They did it twice last fall.)  They changed the royalty policies in February so they wouldn't have to pay out for free books, and announced on the KDP communities that they were getting ready to do free discounts for indies more often. (I believe traditional publishers pay for the priviledge.)

Then a couple of weeks ago, they price-matched a TON of books.  And they seem to be still adding new books as they go.  You will need to have a book offered for free on the major other retailers, and then wait.  Just remember that they not only find and match that price quickly, but they also don't raise the price back very quickly when the sale is over elsewhere.  You don't have control, you can only lay your book open for the possibility.

Camille
 

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Free really is tricky, and as people have said, nothing's certain. I suspect they're testing to see what effect these freebies have on sales, especially on the author's other books. I'm wondering if authors with multiple books are more likely to get price-matched.

Jackie Barbosa said:
I believe if you are in the 70% royalty category and Amazon drops you to 99 cents for price-matching purposes, you are dropped to the 35% royalty category.

Sorry...
Not according to the ToS - and last time I asked, a couple of authors confirmed that they got 70%. That said, in that situation you're better off on the 35% contract... 35% of $2.99 vs 70% of $0.99. ;)
 

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What Mike said  :)

But what I did was set to $0 on Smashwords and then had my buddies let Amazon know they found the book for a lower price elsewhere. The book hung out at the $0 price at Smashwords for two or three weeks, I think, but no longer than that. I'm not sure if what we did had anything to do with Amazon's decision or not, but it's worth a try.

I was opposed to giving away a book at first, but it has gone well in the first 24 hours--I think the freebie has driven readers to my other books.

Good luck!
 

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nomesque said:
Not according to the ToS - and last time I asked, a couple of authors confirmed that they got 70%. That said, in that situation you're better off on the 35% contract... 35% of $2.99 vs 70% of $0.99. ;)
Something Lee Goldberg said a few weeks ago when he was being discounted on Kobo made me think that if your price was dropped to the .99 to 2.98 price range by discounting, you would only get 35% of the sale price. If that's not true, I'm not even sure what he was worried about. It seems to me that if Amazon will drop your price to match what it is on other retailers, your best course of action would be to NEVER set your price to less than $2.99 on Amazon, thereby ensuring you always get 70%, but price the book at 99 cents everywhere else. Because if you go with a 99 cent cover price, you only get 35%.

I'm very tempted to try this. I'd never DREAM of actually asking anyone to pay $2.99 for my short story, but if I could be assured by the price I set elsewhere that it would remain at 99 cents on Amazon AND I'd get 70% of 99 cents (I have a hard time believing they'd pay me 70% of 2.99, given that that would be more than anyone paid for the book), wouldn't I be foolish NOT to do that?
 

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Amazon has been fine tuning this for a while.  I expect they aren't going to let people get away with cheating the 70 percent option much -- if they haven't stopped it already.  Otherwise you'd have people setting their book to 9.99 and then offering it at .99 elsewhere.

As for having people report your lower price: That didn't work until this past few weeks, when they started the new price matching.  It might be a way to get prices dropped faster now, though.

Camille
 

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What the royalty rate program says here (https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A29FL26OKE7R7B):

"3. List Price Requirements. To be accepted in the Program, your Digital Book's List Price must meet the List Price requirements."

That, coupled with

"If you select the 70% Royalty Option for your Digital Book, you must set and adjust from time-to-time as necessary the Digital Book's List Price so that the List Price, plus 15% (the statutory Luxembourg VAT rate) for sales to EU customers, is no higher than any of the following:
• the list price (i.e., the suggested or recommended retail price) for any digital edition of the Digital Book in any sales channel; "

suggests to me that Amazon is within its rights to drop you from the 70% royalty program if you fail to adjust the book so that your list price falls out of the range other retailers offer it in.

They may not do it, but I suspect they will.
 

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Lee was concerned since he was losing money due to the price matching and the price drop on Kobo. He sells a lot of books and he took a real beating if you look at the numbers he posted.

viii. If at any time your Digital Book does not meet the requirements for the 70% Royalty Option, the Royalty for the Digital Book will be as provided in the 35% Royalty Option.
This is from the KDP pricing page. Even if you could game the system, I wouldn't. A lot of times, you end up losing the game.
 

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kyrin said:
This is from the KDP pricing page. Even if you could game the system, I wouldn't. A lot of times, you end up losing the game.

viii. If at any time your Digital Book does not meet the requirements for the 70% Royalty Option, the Royalty for the Digital Book will be as provided in the 35% Royalty Option.
And THAT is what I remembered when I said I believe you'd be dropped from 70% to 35% if you set your book to $2.99 but were being price-matched to 99 cents. So thank you!
 

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Courtney Milan said:
suggests to me that Amazon is within its rights to drop you from the 70% royalty program if you fail to adjust the book so that your list price falls out of the range other retailers offer it in.
Yes, absolutely correct. Difficult for them to verify, though, which probably accounts for their current slowness in withdrawing books from sale (I know they did this quite quickly in the past, but it seems to have been the action of single people, not policy). They can't tell, necessarily, whether a book's price on a competitor's site is due to list price (set by the author) or sale price (set by the retailer).

kyrin said:
This is from the KDP pricing page. Even if you could game the system, I wouldn't. A lot of times, you end up losing the game.
viii. If at any time your Digital Book does not meet the requirements for the 70% Royalty Option, the Royalty for the Digital Book will be as provided in the 35% Royalty Option.
Yes, but merely being price-matched to below the acceptable List Price does NOT mean the book does not meet the 70% contract requirements. That contract requires a List Price of $2.99-$9.99, not a Sale Price.

However, a very good point has been made - these are legal contracts. If you want Amazon to abide by its contract with you, you need to abide by your contract with Amazon. That means setting the same price everywhere, unless you give it away - in which case there's no 'price' to worry about.
 
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