One of the things you sign up for when you publish with Kindle Direct Publishing is accepting that they may, at their discretion, match the price for your novel if they discover it elsewhere. KDP also requires that you give them complete control over your retail price, regardless of the price you set. Basically, they can put it on sale at will.
My saga began on 9/30/11. I checked my KDP dashboard in the morning to see if anything had sold over night, and the same 6 sales were there as appeared on Thursday. Okay. No big thing. I checked again later Friday afternoon, and 610 copies had sold.
Joy? WTF? PARDON ME?!
I went to my product page and discovered that my book had magically been discounted 100% (see image #2). Filled with WFT and panic, I dropped a couple of emails to KDP to find out what had happened. It took four days to get a response, during which time, thousands of copies of my first novel were given away.
The answer was what I described to you in the first paragraph. KDP discovered my book on BN.com for free, and matched that price. Alright.
Take a look at those images again. Do you notice anything different about the books, cover art or titles?
Yes. They aren’t the same book. The BN version is a free teaser of the first three chapters of the full novel, which is the one pictured in the Amazon clipping. KDP’s terms stipulate that they will change the price if they find the SAME work priced differently elsewhere. This isn’t what happened with me. They found something that is quite similar, asked no questions, and used their power to discount my novel 100%.
I have complained as much as possible, but KDP does not have telephone contact with the outside world, and I have this distinct impression that they’re in India. I even took the book down twice, hoping that something would reset. Nope.
My response from KDP, when it arrived on 10/7/2011 was this:
Hello James, I’m writing to follow up with you regarding your title, “Blood Soaked and Contagious.” We’ve taken necessary action to update the price of your title on our website. I see that you’ve currently unpublished your title from our website. We request your to republish your title, so it can be available for sale on our website with in 24-48 hours. Please be assured, when your book goes live on our website, correct price will be updated. We’re sorry, we’re unable to pay royalties for your sales when your title was listed at $0 on our website. As per our KDP Terms and Conditions, we retain discretion over the retail price of a Kindle book. For more information, please refer to our KDP Terms and Conditions at the below link. REDACTED
Thanks for your understanding and patience.
Kindle Direct Publishing http://kdp.amazon.com
KDP does not even admit to the error. Nice.
As of 45 minutes ago, KDP has given away 5104 copies of my book for free. I do not know what, if any, recourse I have in this situation. I feel as though my potential future earnings have been impacted, to say nothing of my present earnings. Is it too much to expect that KDP’s price matching vigilance be ACCURATE when you sign over that control?
Oh, as a coda to this: my book price has NOT been corrected yet. It’s still up there for free.
Please boost this signal. There are a lot of new E-Authors out there who need to know that this can happen, and who might want to think twice about their distribution channels.
Note: This is the final communication from KDP customer service about the issue. http://wp.me/p1MKT2-33