Thursday, April 23, 2015

Amazon, Pricing, and KDP Select

Something’s been on my mind for awhile, and after discussing it with my wife, I’ve come to a decision.  If you look in the Library, you’ll see some free ebooks.  I made the decision some time back not to charge for individual flash fiction and short stories.  I just feel like they’re too short to justify charging anything for them.  Through Smashwords, I can distribute to almost every ebook retailer you can think of except for Amazon and Google Play, and I can mark the price as free.  For Google Play and Amazon, I have to publish direct.  Google will let me mark the price as free, but Amazon requires a minimum price of 99 cents.  Since I feel like these are too short to charge for, this presents a problem with publishing to Amazon.

Third generation Amazon Kindle, showing text f...
Third generation Amazon Kindle, showing text from the novel Moby-Dick. Esperanto: Amazon Kindle de la tria generacio, montranta originan tekston el la romano Moby-Dick. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I could put up these stories for 99 cents and wait for Amazon to price match, but I’d feel bad if somebody paid for them in the interim, and there’s no guarantee that Amazon will price match at all, let alone in a timely fashion.  I thought about putting a link in the description, telling people not to pay, but didn’t figure Amazon would appreciate that too much.  So, we went with choice number three:  I’m going to wait until I have a handful of these short tales and then package them together into collections.  I’ll add the collections to Amazon along with the other retailers.  I’ll keep the prices low, commensurate with what’s included in the collection (I charge for novelettes and novellas). 

Why not KDP select, where I can have free giveaway days every quarter and Prime members and Kindle Unlimited members can borrow them for free?  Even if I only released the collections on Amazon, their TOS is pretty clear that if the individual components are available elsewhere, the collection can’t be in KDP Select.  I know there are some who are able to get away with it, but I’m not going to chance it.

It’s not the best solution.  Kindle members who don’t want to bother with Smashwords will have to wait to get the shorter stories (although to be fair, when I release a new book in KDP Select for its first 90 days, everybody else has to wait).  But to make it easier for the less technically savvy readers, until such time as Amazon allows free as an option, I think it’s the best option.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments.

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