Claude Bouchard Books

Crime thrillers and other stuff...

Ramble On

Why Are You Screwing Me, Amazon?

Posted by bigceebee on February 27, 2012 at 7:50 AM

A brief intro although the emails which follow explain the story quite succinctly. Last week, I did a free promotion with ASYLUM on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, I noticed two things. First, the retail price of the print version of ASYLUM had been reduced by Amazon from $11.99 to $3.13. Strange but not alarming since I'm paid for print sales by the supplier, not the retailer. Second, the price for the Kindle version was discounted 2 cents to $2.97. This was cause for concern since Kindle books under $2.99 pay a 35% rather than 70% royalty. What follows is the email I sent to KDP, the response I received this morning and my subsequent response:

Sent to KDP Feb 24, 2012, 8:28am

My novel, ASYLUM (ASIN: B005CBWQ22) is priced at $2.99 but, for some reason, Amazon has discounted it to $2.97. Does this two cent decision taken by Amazon throw me in a 35% royalty bucket rather than 70%? I trust this isn't the case as if it is, it is theft and completely unacceptable. Please advise ASAP and rectify as required.


Claude Bouchard

Received from KDP Feb 27, 2012, 6:02am

Hi Claude,

I'm sorry for the delay in responding to your query.

After researching this issue I found that your Kindle edition of "ASYLUM" is being price matched with the paperback version. Keep in mind that the digital version of your book can not be more expensive than the physical version.

Also, I can confirm that you will still keep the 70% royalty rate.

Feel free to write back to us for further concerns or clarifications. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.


Craig V

Kindle Direct Publishing

Sent to KDP Feb 27, 2012. 7:38am

Hi Craig,


Thanks for your response which, although probably no fault of your own, I find completely ludicrous. The print version of ASYLUM retails at $11.99. This is the retail price set by me with the supplier and should be the retail price with any distributor. For some reason, AMAZON decided to discount the print version to $3.13 which I initially noticed on Friday, February 24, 2012. Since, AMAZON has further lowered the price to $2.82. You are now telling me that due to AMAZON's decisions to reduce the retail price of of the print version to well below the cost of production, I am being penalized by price-matching for my Kindle version? What if AMAZON decides to give away print versions of my book? Will the Kindle price drop to $0.00, thus reducing my royalty to 70% of nothing?


I find it curious that this whole pricing issue came into play on the first day following a two day free promotion of ASYLUM via the KDP Select program. As a result, during the period when I was maximizing paid sales, AMAZON has arranged to lower my price and effectively reduce my royalties by over 10%. This is theft, pure and simple and completely unacceptable.


I impatiently await a logical response,


Claude Bouchard

Received from Customer Service Feb 28, 2012, 2:47am (Sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.)

Hello Claude,

I understand your concern about discount offered on paperback edition affecting the price for Kindle edition.

Our decision to discount books is based on a number of strategic considerations, which can vary over time. As a result, we cannot confirm how long your title will be discounted. I can assure you that many people work to make our pricing calculations as competitive as possible for both you and your readers.

Please also be assured that the discount does not affect the royalties you receive for sales made while the book is discounted. Royalties will continue to be calculated from the list price provided by your publisher, which you can see listed here above the discounted price on your book's Detail page:

It's possible that a future change in policy will result in the discount's removal from your title. In that case, the discount will disappear automatically and immediately.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,

Preethi R.

Sent to KDP Feb 28, 2012. 8:00am

Hello Preethi,


I'm sending this email to the address to which I had replied to Craig yesterday since your response was sent from an address I could not reply to. Why make it easy to solve an issue, yes?


Once again, I must point out that the information supplied to me by Amazon fails to address the issue at hand. I have no concern whatsoever about royalties received for my print version of ASYLUM. Any given retailer could order 1,000 copies and give them away and I would receive full payment from the supplier. What I AM concerned about, as explained in previous emails found in this thread, is that Amazon has arbitrarily decided to discount the print version of ASYLUM to a price low enough that Amazon's price matching policy affects the selling price of the Kindle version of the same book. The result of this decision by Amazon has a direct negative impact on MY Kindle royalties. Simply stated, this is stupid. How can Amazon give me the price-matching argument when it is Amazon who is setting the comparable price to begin with?


That said, I will once again impatiently await for a sound, reasonable response which accurately addresses the issue I have brought to your attention. If this is not clear, please advise and I will explain it once again.


Claude Bouchard

Final email received from KDP Feb 28, 2012, 4:00pm

Hello Claude,

We're sorry we haven't been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. We will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.


Nicholas Y.

Kindle Direct Publishing

So, the moral of the story for all my writer friends out there, if Amazon screws up, rest assured, it's YOUR problem...

Final note: Upon rising February 29, 2012, I found the print version of ASYLUM back at its regular price of $11.99 and the Kindle version at @2.99 as it should be. :)

If you're curious about ASYLUM, you can check it out here:

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Reply Douglas Dorow
09:25 AM on February 27, 2012 
Sounds like you're on your way to solving your own mystery! I guess now you need to send them another email to find out what is driving the price of your paperback down that is being matched to your ebook? Good luck, my friend.
Reply Gary Ponzo
09:28 AM on February 27, 2012 
The worst part is that is takes 3 days for them to send you the next email!
Reply Lonny Dunn
10:09 AM on February 27, 2012 
This might not be the time to tell you this, Claude. But I've been secretly buying up the entire stock of downloads, till I blew up Amazon's server. Smoke was sizzling out of them, they had to call in the tech guys. Anyway, they called me, an eMail couldn't wait.... "Why are you buying up all these copies of Asylum?" they asked.

I couldn't tell them, but I've been reselling them at the full price back to Amazon.

I figure what's good for the goose, is good for the ducks, too.

Lonny Dunn Editor/Author I Tweet at @ProNetworkbuild
Reply PC_Bob
12:59 PM on February 27, 2012 
I couldn't tell them, but I've been reselling them at the full price back to Amazon.

I figure what's good for the goose, is good for the ducks, too.

That's funny, Lonny. Probably as lucid an explanation as you can find, too.
Reply JD
01:05 PM on February 27, 2012 
At least they answered your email. I wrote them over two weeks ago and haven't gotten a response. In a prior issue that should have been simple, an email chain ended up being over 12 customer service reps long, each one further muddying the issue after apparently not reading the original complaint.

Here's a question: Who is auditing Amazon? How are authors to know for certain that the figures are correct? I have discovered major discrepancies between my month-to-date report and my final one. I am on the 70/35 program and question the number of sales being made at 35% -- almost 25%. I question the ever-ballooning number of returns, which is averaging around 10%. I had 0 returns before the KDP program.

Authors receive no real reports on sales or their origins; only raw numbers. If there are mistakes, we have no real redress.
Reply andy holloman
01:33 PM on February 27, 2012 
...hmmm, gotta keep a close eye on those rascals..... amazing how much we all depend upon the good will of the 800 lb gorilla..... and we also depend on the accuracy of their mystical counting machines, huh? brings up a picture for me of a bunch of old guys sitting in a back room at amazon and some other guy reading off a ticker tape as sales get process and the old guys punching in the numbers on one of those tape adding machines..... (insert your own amazon acctg system descripion - here )
Reply DiDi
03:01 PM on February 27, 2012 
According to my Amazon page--it is FREE to download with Amazon Prime. I have a screenprint I can share with you.
Reply bigceebee
03:04 PM on February 27, 2012 
Hi, Didi,

That's fine for Prime. Any book in KDP Select is eligible for free borrowing for Prime members. i get paid for the borrows.

DiDi says...
According to my Amazon page--it is FREE to download with Amazon Prime. I have a screenprint I can share with you.
Reply Micheal Rivers
03:46 PM on February 27, 2012 
I haven't had that issue appear yet Claude. My paperbacks are through CreateSpace. 76% is one hell of a discount though. I just took a look at your book Asylum and it is now listed at $2.68. I do agree with JD, my reports are still off and not sure if I will EVER get the correct numbers from the Feb 1 & 2nd debacle. The first free day Jan 31st d/l's were coming in at 250 -500 every half hour the last 6 or 7 hrs of that day and continuing into Feb 1st then it just stopped showing any numbers. When it resumed on the 2nd it showed only aprox 20% of what the previous free day had. I find that hard to believe based on the stats other authors were reporting on their 2 free days. Sorry to ramble, Amazon is holding the cards and all we can hope for is the best.
Reply Patricia Carrigan
04:06 PM on February 27, 2012 
What a ridiculous mess! It does seem like absolute theft to me. What would make Amazon think that it's ok to do such a thing! I am very interested in what comes of this... Please keep us all posted! I hope for a good resolution to it all.

Patricia Carrigan
Author Antiserum
Reply Justin Bogdanovitch
08:49 PM on February 28, 2012 
Wait, I just tried to post a comment and now it's vanished . . . bummer. Claude, your corporate "handling" by Amazon is a true injustice. I'm sorry to read about the way they go about business.
Reply tonya
07:06 AM on February 29, 2012 
I'd definitely keep with it and email them daily. I had heard this one other time and this particular author tweeted her blog, facebook her blogs and sent the link to amazon b/c they weren't responding. After she went public, Amazon quickly remedied it.
Reply Martin Rua
12:07 PM on February 29, 2012 
Just one word: amazing...
Reply Diana Stevan
03:13 PM on February 29, 2012 
Congratulations on getting the price bumped back up. Your tenacity paid off. It's all about being fair, isn't it? Thanks for posting this. It's like David and Goliath, the writer trying to make a few bucks against the big behemoth of a seller who wants to make a hell of a lot more.
Reply Jemima Pett
03:17 PM on February 29, 2012 
Interesting, Claude. I noticed the sales of my KDP Select ebbok immediately after the Free Days were listed as 35% royalty, with no information on the price... I must start asking questions, I think.

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