Set the Books Free!
For the last year, I’ve put all my preorders up on iBooks long before they go onto Amazon. I’ve had emails and messages from readers, complaining about this, wanting the book on Amazon earlier.
What readers don’t always understand is the frustration we as authors deal with at Amazon. Right now, I’m at a breaking point with them.
I have a BookBub Featured Deal coming up. For those who don’t know, BookBub FDs are pricey. This one requires the book in question to be free.
On all the other vendors–Nook, iBooks, Kobo and Google–I can simply set the price of the book to FREE when I want to do that. It’s easy. And since this is my book I’m selling, it stands to reason that I should be able to set the price, right?
But not at Amazon.
At Amazon, I can’t set my own price. At Amazon, I have to send the company an email with the links to the books on the other vendors, acknowledge that Amazon has the right to price my book regardless of my intentions, and essentially beg them to price-match the book to free.
This is ludicrous. This is demeaning. This is ridiculous.
But it’s what we do. So this week, I priced the book in question to free on all the other vendors and then emailed Amazon. Their first response was that they would price match–but only in the US. In fact, though, they didn’t. So I emailed again to point that out . . . and finally, they did set the price to free.
At least, until yesterday, when they raised it back to full price, without notice or rhyme or reason.
I emailed them immediately and this morning, I received a form email essentially saying . . . no.
So I emailed again, this time cc’ing Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Thus far, I’ve heard nothing, the book is still full-price, it’s after 5 PM on a long weekend, and my BookBub is on Tuesday. If the book isn’t free on Amazon on Tuesday morning, BookBub will refuse to run my deal, and I’ll be out a chunk of money I really can’t afford to lose.
Now, I’m not a big fish on Amazon. I’m not even a medium-sized guppy. I’m just a small fish, and Amazon cares very little about me, my books or the small income in brings them. That means if I decide to pull my books from this market, they won’t even notice.
But I’m getting darn close to doing it anyway. I’m tired of cowing to ridiculous terms of service that seem to be fairly arbitrary. I’m tired of there being one set of rules for some authors (those who were not required to be exclusive to be part of Kindle Unlimited, for example) and another for other authors. I’m tired of Amazon putting my books in price prison, giving me a less-than-fair royalty if I price my books over a certain point or under a certain point.
Readers, you are the ones with the true power here. Amazon needs you. You can tell them that you support authors and want them to price books according to their own needs. Let’s hope they listen.
Peace, love and romance~