A short while back, my friend Charles E. Yallowitz decided to make the first book of his fantasy Legends of Windemere series permafree. This is something I’ve been considering myself, but I’ve always wondered just how to go around achieving it.
Amazon doesn’t make goinf free easy, and the advice I’ve been reading was all about going permafree on one of the other outlets (Barnes & Nobles, Google Play, iBooks etc) and getting a few friends of yours to notify Amazon that they’ve found your book cheaper there. Amazon should then match the price – ie make your title free. John Chapman has a step-by-step post on how to do this.
However, I’ve also been reading about cases where Amazon just doesn’t seem to care. Apparently, some people have been waiting for months for that to work. So, when I came across a post by celebrated author Molly Greene on the subject, I had to share.
Molly reports that Amazon has removed the “price match” button from the “Contact us” menu. So, the new process is as follows:
- Log in to Kindle Direct Publishing (kdp.amazon.com).
- Make sure that your book is set to 35% royalty.
- Click the “Help” tab in the upper right-hand corner.
- On the left menu, scroll to the bottom and click “Contact us.”
- Again on the left menu, click “Getting Started.”
- Then click “Pricing Your Book.” *
- Under “ask your question here,” use the subject line: Price Matching. In the body of the message, include the title and ASIN of the book, plus links to the retail sites where it is currently free. Tell them you’re running a free promo and you need Amazon to price match.
* If you’re interested in just what Amazon’s policy on price matching is, you will find one of the “Answers to common questions” options under this category to be “what is price matching.” That link will take you to Amazon’s policy page.
When Molly did this, she got an email from Amazon that let her know they’d received her message. Her book, Mark of the Loon, was free within 24 hours.
You will also need to check to be sure that your book also goes free in the rest of the world, eg the UK and Canada. If not, you will need to send a follow-up email, as Amazon’s policy on the matter is to lower the price for only the region in question:
For us to consider matching prices in foreign markets, the website selling the book at a lower price must be based in the same country or region as the Kindle store where your book is sold. Should you want us to price match your book on the Amazon.ca site for instance, you would need to send us a link to your book on a Canadian store selling it for less.
Many thanks to Molly for the information. Be sure to visit her post and check out the comments for further interesting information as to which retailers seem to work better when using this method (Smashwords, for example, seems to be largely ignored).
Enlightening advice, thank you! ?
Thank Molly 🙂
Great advice. I read Molly’s blog. And I still think it’s annoying that we have to jump through so many hoops to go permafree, lol. 🙂
Lol – I know, right??
Just like your posts, Molly’s are also gold. Solid advice! Thank you, both!
Yes, she’s great. Thank you, Maria 🙂
I think I’m going to start with 99 cents for the first book in my series and see how it goes. I’ve been toying with free, but am not quite there yet. I like what you did with pricing on Pearseus. Has that worked well?
Still too early to tell, to be honest. Also, I’m not sure how long I’ll keep Rise at 99c. I’m always experimenting 🙂
I know you are. And sharing! It’s wonderful 😀
Aw, you 🙂
You’re right that you need to step out of KDP to get it free. The strange thing is that there are still sale blips, which started appearing last month. I checked and the book is still marked as free, but there were sales marked in the reports. So, I’m not really sure what Amazon is doing half the time. They might not even know.
Thinking back, it took a few weeks to get my book free and it changed right before I sent an email. It’s an awkward thing to ask Amazon about because you fear they’ll take offense and remove the book. At least that’s what paranoia tells me after hearing stories about so many other books getting removed.
In this case, I think your paranoia is well-founded. As everyone knows, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you 😉
Good point. 🙂 This year really has been one of worry and paranoia for authors. Wonder what caused it.
I’d tell you, but they’re listening.
I had no idea it was difficult to give away your book. Thanks for sharing.
What do authors selling exclusively on Amazon do?
Sadly, I don’t believe it’s possible to make your book permafree if you’re on KDP exclusive.
Thanks. This will be something I’m considering for a prequel novella to my series. 🙂
Same here 🙂