Tuesday Tirade / Inktober Day 5 (Raven): Amazon’s Algorithms

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/

It happened again. My free book on Amazon had been changed to the LPP (Lowest Possible Price) for the fifth time since I went through the process of getting it offered for free. All one has to do is to show that the book on Amazon is offered for a lower price on a competitors website. So that’s what I did.

I first published my sample book on KOBO. Is was easy:

  • Upload your file – Check
  • Select price – Free – Check
  • Publish – Check


Now to let Amazon know that people can go to a different platform instead of theirs.

[Collective gasp from Amazon executives…]

It was fine for a while, then I noticed that the price had reverted to $0.99. After emailing the CSR (Customer Service Representative) and providing the competitor’s links, it was fixed. This happened three more times in the last year without any explanation why, except the cut and paste reply:

“From time to time, we may match prices elsewhere online, including free promotions.
Unfortunately we’re not able to accommodate your request since competitors have your book over the $0,99.”

So, each time I had to email them the links to show that it was free on KOBO (.com, .ca, .uk, .in, .au, .de).

Finally, after the fifth time asking how we can avoid this continuing issue, the CSR (never the same one) told me the problem. The algorithm scans competitor prices and adjusts theirs accordingly. Apparently, Amazon’s computer program can’t tell the difference between my free sample book and the complete collection. Can you?

Maybe I should make it as my Captcha…

Now I admit, there are similarities. The cover illustration and fonts are identical, and the titles each have the exact same words with the exception of four additional words on the book on the left.

You might have noticed the bubbles on the right side are cut off on the full collection. That’s just how I made the “Excerpts” cover.

If you saw these books handed to you, which one would you take. Yeah, you’d take the one with more stuff.

So, now the book is free as it is supposed to be. Got a Kindle? Go download my free book and boost it to the top of the Best Sellers Rank in the free category. Please feel free to share the link with anyone you want.


On a final (frontier) note: Mr. Bezos invited Mr. William Shatner to go to space in the Blue Origin rocket. It’s no Enterprise, but I’m happy for him (Shatner, not Bezos).

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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C’mon, space stuff!

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tirade / Inktober Day 5 (Raven): Amazon’s Algorithms

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