Thursday Tirade: Amazon (yes, them again)

Hey! It’s my day off.”

Cut and Run

After two years of fighting with Amazon (don’t we all?), I finally decided to unpublish my poetry reader magnet from their platform.

“Oh, no!” the Amazon executives exclaim. “An unknown indie author—and a poet no less—is taking their free book off of KDP. We are ruined!”

[uproarious laughter]

Yeah. I’m hitting them right where it hurts. In the pocketbook.

What could be so terrible that would lead you to such a drastic measure?

Where do I start?
How about at the beginning?
I don’t have that amount of time, but in a nutshell:

  • I wanted to put my sample poetry book for free on Amazon
  • After providing them with evidence that the book is free on another platform, it was done (or was it?)
  • Over the course of two years the price reset to the minimum $0.99 nine times, and each time I had to provide the same evidence as before
  • I was never informed that the price had reset, and usually discovered the fact when I went to the Amazon page
  • The whole process was a pain in the a@#.

Do You Want to Know More?*

Here are two previous posts:

Were there any benefits? When the price was free, the book was usually in the top 10 and did reach #1 a few times. That has to be worth something in its visibility to the marketplace. Did it lead to any sales? Hard to tell since there were other promotions and marketing going on as the same time.

Here’s what I wrote:

After almost two years of trying to find a solution to the price reset on
my book, I have finally decided to unpublish it from the KDP platform.

This will be an insignificant change for KDP as the book was meant to be
free in order to drive traffic to my other publication. It did spend many
weeks in the top 10 free poetry books, reaching #1 a few times (when it was
free, of course). I am very disappointed that the problem of the price
reset was continual over the course of the last two years.

I still think the platform is essential for indie authors, and will
continue to use it for my future publishing needs, but I think that the
ability to be able to set a book price to free (as with KOBO) without
having to prove price matching is something that should be looked into for
future changes. To minimize profit loss, free books could have a maximum
page count to accommodate many authors reader magnets.

To which I received:

It’s Brigitte here, a supervisor from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Thank you for your email.

I’m sorry to hear you are disappointed that it is not possible for a book to permanently free through KDP. The minimum price on KDP is $0.99 for an eBook and while we may consider price match requests, we can’t guarantee that or that it will be fixed permanently to free.

The price may revert to the list price for example if you republish the book (if changing the keywords, age range, manuscript etc.) or if the algorithm doesn’t find the price match. This is why we don’t offer this as a permanent option, as the price may change and Amazon reserves the right to set the retail price.

KDP offers the “Look Inside the Book” option as a way for customers to see a free sample/excerpt of KDP books (this can be viewed/downloaded for free on Kindle devices or desktop, tablet etc.).

Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts and we’ll certainly consider your input as we plan further improvements.

I have passed on your feedback in this matter to the relevant team.

Best regards,
Thanks for using Amazon KDP,

There you have it. Done. Finis.

Well, that was worth it.”
Are you being sarcastic?
“Yes, but it was pretty good. Now feed me.”


*bonus points for knowing which movie that is from.

Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

My new book page:

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Sign up for my weekly newsletter and receive a free book!

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Published by Leon Stevens

I am an author, composer, and an artist. I published my first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. My latest book is a short story compilation of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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