Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 10 September 2012

Dancing With Amazon

When I launched Project:Evil at the end of July I set the price at free as an introductory price. I've done this before, notably with The Last Simple which had been set to free for months with relatively little interest.  I like the idea of giving a few books away: it lets the early adopters a chance to try, perhaps to recommend.  It's also a painless way to check if your product is working OK without asking consumers to pay for the privilege.

However, the only problem with this approach is that it seems impossible to get Amazon to play ball.  I know, I'm probably a tad too small to persuade them to do anything, but I can see shed loads of free books listed, they even have a top 100 list for free books.  They just don't let authors decide to list for free.

Unless, that is, they've taken the Amazon shilling and signed up for KDP Select.  Regular readers will know that I'm a tad underwhelmed by Amazon's blunt attempt to bribe authors to give them monopolistic control over their books by pumping a fund to reward KDP Select members whose books get borrowed from the Amazon library.  I'm not a fan of monopolies in general and really don't agree with bribery so I've chosen to refrain from joining.  However, one of the benefits of being a KDP select member is that you can list for free four days a month.

Anyway, I got over the disparity, listed Project:Evil on KDP for $0.99 and on Smashwords (and therefore Apple, B&N,Kobo, WHSith, Sony etc) at $0.00.  And it seems to have been quite a popular price point with literally hundreds of copies downloaded on Amazon and B&N that I know of - the eBook return figures are incredibly slow sometimes from some eBook sellers.  There was an interesting side effect of the launch - The Last Simple was discovered and twice as many copies have been downloaded of that compared to Project:Evil over the same period.

With the launch of the BLOMI website I decided to lift the promotion - it had run for over a month and I'm pleased that there are a lot of you guys and gals out there who have had the chance to read a couple of my books for free, but it's time to move onwards.  So on Saturday I instructed Smashwords to raise the price to the same level as Amazon, but realised that it does take time to take effect with the main eBook sellers - if you hurry you may find both books still listed for free for the next few hours.

So this morning I was a little surprised to open my Amazon sales account to see that four copies of Project:Evil had been purchased overnight, which is nice, and that they had been price matched to $0.00, which was unexpected.  Now what I don't know is if Amazon stumbled across this, whether someone contacted them and if they did if it was sparked by me putting a price on Smashwords or not.  Whatever the trigger, it is still being pulled as I'm heading for a hundred such price-match downloads today already.  Obviously there's a word circulating somewhere in the US!

Anyway, I'm expecting the price match situation to continue for a few days until the other stores catch up with the price change, so if you've been thinking about downloading Project:Evil or The Last Simple and need it to be free then I'd suggest you take a look right now - I don't know how long this can last.


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