Newsworthy notes
Great information,  On Writing,  promoting

KDP Select – Only for the Select Few

Newsworthy notes

Today I’m going to share some information about Amazon’s KDP Kindlecountdown program. It wasn’t too long ago I wrote an article about how Createspace is holding my paperback royalties ransom until I satisfy their $100 threshold earned in royalties. As it stands, I’m still about two books short before reaching that threshold. But that’s another kettle of fish, today’s gripe is about the Select program.

I became aware today about how the countdown promo is fashioned. I’m not sure how many of you are aware that when authors put their books in the countdown program, the promotion is only available for U.S. and U.K. citizens. I remember when I ran my book Conflicted Hearts on that promo that I had no evidence of it being on sale, not showing up for me even when I went to Amazon.com. I questioned Amazon and all that I was told that it was on sale, and they sent me a screenshot to prove it, yet it didn’t look like it was, looking at it from my computer. I wasn’t fully aware of all the details of that promo because I foolishly didn’t read all it entailed.

Today I noticed a book on that promo by an author whose writing I admire, and a book of hers which I was watching to come on sale to purchase. I saw her post on Twitter that it was currently on promo at .99 cents and I went to purchase it, only to find that on my Amazon page it was still at regular price. I messaged the author and asked if the sale price was ‘live’ yet because it wasn’t showing and she assured me that it was. The price was not on sale for me. When we both realized that the promo was only valid in the U.S and U.K., she was kind enough to ‘gift’ me a copy for my interest through an Amazon gift certificate for her book. When I went to download it, it wouldn’t download. A message came up saying ‘We’re sorry, there’s a problem, please call . . . .”

I called Amazon and wasted almost forty minutes getting put on hold and passed around, only to finally be put on to a technician. He informed me that he was sorry for all the delay and confusion but I was not allowed to have that book at that price even if the author gifted it to me. I was livid. I ranted on about the injustice of unfair pricing and added that I would be writing about it.

I messaged the author and told her what transpired and thanked her for her attempt to gift me the book and we both agreed that this situation is not correct, particularly that we all live in the same internet world.

What ticks me off most about this is that I, as a Canadian author publishing in the U.S., can put my books on promo for U.S. and U.K. readers, and all other countries including my own readers get the shaft. I copied a paragraph out of Amazon’s rules for this promo and I find it not particularly just:

Can I use Kindle Countdown Deals if I live outside of the U.S. or UK, like Italy or Japan?

Yes, but your Kindle Countdown Deals promotion will only be available for Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Customers in countries that you have indicated rights for will see the countdown clock and the promotional list price with any standard fees included.  However, customers in countries that are supported by specific marketplaces (for example, Germany, India, and Australia) will not see the promotions at this time

When I look at this, it feels like a secret to me. The book will show on sale for two countries and nobody else will know? This doesn’t help us when we are putting our books on promotion and paying for advertising to help boost sales and ALL THE OTHER COUNTRY’S readers are told it’s on sale, but they can’t have that price. I think this is unfair marketing. I may as well tell the world my book is on sale, but sorry guys and gals, if you aren’t American or British you have to pay full price. It kind of leaves me feeling like a hypocrite to advertise.

I wasn’t aware of all this when I entered the new countdown program and ran it for Conflicted Hearts and I am locked in until September for another promo on Meno-What? A Memoir. The sale price won’t show on other countries but surely my readers will know when I advertise it’s on sale, yet some won’t be able to take part in the sale. Quite frankly, I am surprised I wasn’t questioned by readers when I ran the other promo.

I just don’t think this whole situation seems just. To me, it feels like prices should be fair across the board, like any other merchandise. If for example I was selling cars and I offered a particular car for $10,000 and a buyer came along and I found out he wasn’t a Canadian resident, could I tell him, sure you can buy it, but for you it’s $15,000? I don’t think that would go over so well.

For the record, after my last promo in August, I won’t be going exclusive on KDP again. I’ve been on Select since I began publishing because Amazon does have a big platform and once upon a time their promos were more lucrative. I will keep my books on Amazon, but it’s time to expand my distribution and share my books with others who don’t have them available to them on other channels. I’m all about fairness and equality. On other sites I will be able to run different promos and choose if I’d like to gift a copy with no holdbacks. I don’t know when it became politically correct to charge different prices for the same book for different nationalities.

Feel free to leave a comment here or voice your opinion to Amazon for all authors and readers who are not American or British.

DGKaye©2014

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

24 Comments

  • Carol Balawyder

    “I don’t know when it became politically correct to charge different prices for the same book for different nationalities.”

    It is greatly unfair and hard to understand Amazon’s justification as to why they enforce such restrictions. What I know is that Amazon.ca is run separately from Amazon.com. I learnt this when I contacted Amazon to ask why the look inside feature of my books didn’t appear on Amazon.ca. At least that’s what the situation was a few months ago.

    Your post is another example of how authors have to stay on top. Thanks for sharing this information, Debby and good luck expanding the distribution of your books.:)

  • Dorothy Sander

    It’s impossible, at least for me, to read all of the fine print online, particularly when it comes to self-publishing. I started a long time ago self-publishing on Lulu but recently moved to Amazon for obvious reasons, but it is a challenge every step of the way. Publishing was difficult in the past, now we’re just into a different kind of difficult and in the end it amounts to the same thing – everyone makes money but the author. Everyone controls circulation but the author. I certainly share your frustration. I am publishing on multiple platforms because I have not yet found one that does it all in a way that I am comfortable. Thanks for sharing your experience. I learned some things I didn’t know – because I don’t read everything! 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for visiting Dorothy. Yes, there is so much to learn on a daily basis because it seems the rules are always changing. I try to keep up, hence I work so many hours a day because of reading about all things self publishing. It is hard to spend hours reading details of article and when I do come across something unjust, I do write about it to make others aware who don’t have the time. Always happy to share. 🙂

  • elainemansfield

    It’s a rough business–and so much rests on the author. I can’t imagine all you must learn and watch and relearn for for self-publishing. You wear so many hats, Debby, and I’m sure this information will help many make decisions. Thanks for being a library of information about self-publishing.

    • dgkaye

      You’re very welcome Elaine. Many writers don’t like the publishing aspect of self publishing but we have no choice if that’s how we choose to publish. We do have to wear many hats to become successful and information is power. I try to share issues I come across for the many who aren’t aware. 🙂

  • Christy Birmingham

    I had no idea that the same book could be on sale in one country’s version of a site and not in the equivalent site for another country. What the… Seems silly to me. Why are only US and UK publishers eligible for the program? There are so many details here that I don’t get… You are always telling me things I don’t know about publishing Deb and I appreciate it!

    • dgkaye

      You’re welcome Christy. I spend lots of time trying to learn this business and stay on top of current issues. As self publishers, we are not only writers. We have to look after our business. Writing is not even half of being a self published author. We have to keep up with trends with lots of reading, learn the publishing business, formatting, book design and then a hefty load of marketing our work and promoting. It’s a one man job meant for two or three. How much we put into our work is how successful we can become in time. It’s a huge commitment. 🙂

  • marianbeaman

    You have your finger on the pulse of publishing obviously, Debby. I’m not there yet, but I’m benefiting from the experiences of others like you. I’m all for fairness and justice. It should certainly extend to writers as well. At the bottom of all of this I see the green-eyed monster, greed.

    • dgkaye

      I’m only asking for equality. It’s hard enough for indie authors putting their books up against traditionally published and we still don’t get some of the benefits they get. But when a company is distributing world-wide the prices should all be in accordance for all countries, differing only with exchange rates.

  • Christina ~

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have to agree with Dorothy on all her salient points. To me, it seems just as self-publishing has recovered from its stigma and is now an acceptable way to publish…the powers that be are making it all the more difficult. It honestly makes no sense that they would be so country specific…most especially since Amazon is world wide,

    You are such a wise and thorough woman! I’m sure there are many who have no idea their promotions aren’t what they think they should be. It is sad indeed. However, with generous people like you sharing the wisdom of your experience I choose to remain hopeful that change (for the better) will come…and soon. <3 ~

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for your vote of confidence Christina. Yes, we are always hoping for a positive change and until then I make it my business to keep on top of things! 🙂

  • Adam Henig

    Sorry to hear about your troubles with Amazon KDP Select. I guess Amazon is anti-Canadian! Look on the bright side, at least you have free health care ;0

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    I have noticed some promos do not make it across our border and sometimes when a book is advertised for .99, it is in fact $1.07 here.

    Several time, I’v noticed the same as you’ve mentioned UK and US but not in Canada, OR, you get a ‘no pricing available’ notice, OR, you might buy a Kindle copy but no paper copy in Canada. Talk about uniformity. Not! What gives?

    On other thing, it has something to do with licensing. I tried to get a movie at .ca but was told the licensing for releasing that movie here was not available.

    • dgkaye

      Yes, Tess, this is what I don’t like about being a DOT CA in DOT COM world with Amazon. The pricing should be fair across the board, hence my post. Regarding your .99 -$1.07 statement, that is just the norm. .99 is the U.S. price and $1.07 is the CAD at their chosen exchange rate. Those prices will always fluctuate according to our dollar difference. I will be looking forward to expanding my distribution this fall. I would never take my books off Amazon because of the marketshare they have, but taking them out of their Select program gives me the freedom to distribute on other channels as well, which also offer opportunity to put a sale on my books worldwide and at my own discretion. 🙂

  • Aquileana

    Hey wait, canadians are also americans… Being even more proper with words, canadians are also North Americans !… Wink Debbie! 🙂
    Cheers and keep it up, no matter what.. there is always injustice in this wild world!,

    Aquileana 😀

    • dgkaye

      Yes, one would think North America is a continent which include Canada and the U.S. Maybe someone should notify Amazon, lol.:)

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