as others have mentioned, i urge everyone to [b]write to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for clarification on the situation[/b]. we should at least know if they plan to discontinue discounts for the short/mid/long term so we can price our titles accordingly
This is what amazon wrote back.. Not any help at all just pointing to the customer agreement:
Thanks for your e-mail. Please note that as per our terms and conditions, our decision to discount products is based on a number of considerations which can vary over time. We’d suggest that you set the price for your Kindle book based on what you deem is a fair value for customers.
Also, if your title has a physical book counterpart we recommend you price at a discount relative to the lowest priced physical book version. At Amazon we believe in passing on any savings to our customers and since in most cases digital books cost less to store and to distribute we recommend reflecting this in the price.
Further, please note, you will continue to receive the set percentage of the list price you set for every sale, even if Amazon changes the retail price for your content.
Thanks for posting that response you received, meyerjoe.
I was thinking this was a system "glitch", but the emailed response you received from Amazon seems to indicate otherwise. The problem is that there is no level playing field here. The discounting seems to be applied arbitrarily where some publishers are "favored" and others are not. Why is that? Who knows!
I don't mind abiding by the rules and playing within the rules, but, in this case, I don't understand the rules and why the discount is applied for some but not for others.
[i]you will continue to receive the set percentage of the list price you set for every sale, even if Amazon changes the retail price for your content.[/i]
That poses the fantastical possibility that ole Jeff can effectively wipe out independent publishers by progressively increasing the sales price of our titles, while sharing only 35 percent of the list price. I.e., 35 percent of $1.99 while the book actually sells for $15.95.
All of us 'little guys' can add up to a lot of cash for Amazon if they just get the tech part sorted.
After all, it is a bit like having thousands of unpaid workers on their staff, converting, uploading, marketing and selling, and what are they doing for their share?
Offering the website, and the technology that is supposed to work that enables us to get product A into the hands of buyer b and get our cash (C) and Amazon gets their slice too, D.
At the moment, however, C and D are definitely not working. I mean, clearly downloads are going on, but we have not been paid in months, and the reports are not working correctly.
Likewise, I sell second hand books, and now they want to make it so that we ship the book out, and only then do we get paid. They assure us that we will get paid if we have sent the book out correctly, but having had enough bad transactions from credit cards that are dinged but get no payment, I am not happy with that system.
And if anyone knows about the California department of corrections, the inmates in the state are not allowed to receive mail from anyone other than approved vendors, so I fulfill the orders, they come back. I have to issue a refund, but who gets stuck paying the postage? I do not want to keep being out of pocket for postage for those transactions.
I bring this up only to illustrate that Amazon may not always be aware of problems and think them through, and/or, in the process of trying to solve one issue, they create others.
I still don't know what they were trying to accomplish when they changed the reporting system last month--rather pointless, if no one is getting paid anyway.
But when the site goes down, the discounts evaporate on all our titles, the reports vanish, and no one answers our questions, clearly something sensible needs to be done by all of us to get some answers and some accountability.
And we none of us are little guys if we are running businesses like professionals. Everyone should be paid fairly for the work that they do. To treat us this way in this economy, where every dollar counts, is inexcusable.
The good news being, that it does not appear to have deterred people from buying books! They are certainly buying second-hand from me by the ton. For which all the people in my family that I support thank them! Now if we can get the royalties for the ebook authors at our pub house, everyone would be a winner.
Which came first, the bestseller or the discount? Also what percentage of these "bestsellers" are books that are actually [i]selling[/i]?
Collusion, kickbacks, price-fixing, rank-rigging, accounting irregularities, and economic sabotage...all criminal fraud, Amazon. And for the whole wide world to see! That takes courage, Mr. Bezos. Or stupidity.
We have to distinguish between the discount to $9.99 of hardcover bestsellers and the 20 percent discount that used to apply to all titles include those of us uploading through the DTP.
Nora Roberts's books wouldn't be on the Kindle store without the deep discount to $9.99 (from $25, whatever). Amazon wouldn't have a profitable model if it tried to sell digital editions for the hardcover price. So these books are a loss leader to build the Kindle reader base.
As for us, we exist in order to build the numbers, so Amazon can boast of 300,000 titles available for the Kindle.
Same with the public domain classics that were uploaded early in the process and are available free. That was to provide a reason for early adopters to buy the early Kindle readers.
I think the real problem here is lack of communication.
If Amazon decides to take away the discount, why can't they tell us? Also when there are issues with the site they should also let us no. Other sites similar to DTP do. They usually make it easily accessible to members who are signed in. It would really make it less frustrating for all of their publishers. It would also probably cut the posts in this forum by half or so.
Honestly I would rather have Amazon tell us that they are taking away our discount. Rather than look at the page for each of my books and then have to follow them daily to see if it is coming back.
I do not view this as an intentional knock on indie publishers. I published through DTP on April 11th. I published on Mobipocket the same day. The DTP edition was listed at $9.99 and discounted to 7.99, and the Mobi at $10 and discounted to $8. Now the DTP is no longer discounted, but the Mobipocket is still discounted. If this were intentional towards indies, the Mobi would not be discounted either. Each sells in spurts, but now the cheaper Mobi sells more.
I would like to remove the Mobipocket, and I know how, but it is connected to my print edition and the DTP edition does not connect to the print edition. I don't want to remove the DTP book. I am publishing another book in the next 10 days, and hopefully the same thing won't happen. Now only the print edition is connected to my author page, but up until 3 days ago the DTP was the only edition connected to the author page.
Seems like too much confusion going on with DTP. Not sure what I'm going to do.
[i]I would like to remove the Mobipocket, and I know how, but it is connected to my print edition and the DTP edition does not connect to the print edition.[/i]
This was my situation exactly. I asked DigtalRights to change the link, and in a very literate and helpful email they suggested that I 'unpublish' the title at the Mobipocket e-base (well, not 'unpublish', but stop offering it to third-party vendors), and that absent the Mobi edition the software would soon pick up the link between the Kindle edition and the paper version.
I did what they suggested. For two days (more or less) the link on the paper edition led to an error, but then the software did mend itself and link to the Kindle version. So it worked!
(Then of course I lost the discount. If your Mobiedition is discounted, perhaps you'll want to leave it. The paper checks from Vendor Central come in regularly and on time. Of course to split the revenue means a lower sales ranking.)