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Monday, 26 September 2011

Contrasting views up the Amazon

I discovered something about Amazon recently. I’m not sure if it’s widely known but it definitely wasn’t known to me. Or a lot of the people I asked.

It all started when I went into my authors account and looked at the download history. At first glance it looked like I had ‘sold’ quite a few stories at 99 cents each. But the revenue columns remained suspiciously at Zero, well apart for one that said 70 cents!

Being a bit perplexed by this I took a look at what Amazon told me my stuff was selling at in both the UK and the US (Ich verkaufe aber nichts in Deutschland) but all looked normal. There it was on screen for all to see. I was selling for both stories for 99 cents. So I went back to scratch my head over that Zero balance.

When looking at my download history I noticed a sudden jump in uptake for one of my stories. The proverbial light-bulb went on and I posted on a forum asking what could cause this confusing read-out. It didn’t take long before I got word back from an American poster who said both my stories were ‘selling’ for 0 cents on the American site, but I couldn’t see that when looking at Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not blaming Amazon for this.
For a while I dropped the cost of the story in question from 99 cents to Zero on Smashwords and this appears to have been uploaded to other sites, and Amazon simple price-matched as per the terms and conditions.
I knew I was waiting for one of these to price-match down to Zero on Amazone, as I have it at Zero on other sites. What I didn’t realise, from looking at the front end selling pages on both the UK and US sites, is that this had already happened and not just for the story I wanted it to happen for.

What caused my confusion is that for the UK (and Germany) the price match doesn’t seem to have been applied for any of the stories and the prices are, rightly and wrongly, being reported as (the equivalent of) 99 cents. In America however they are being sold at Zero cents, as the price-matching has took. But for where I’m standing it still appears that they are both being sold for a cost there as well.

As it all stands I’m not really fussed about this. I’m just putting these stories out there to try and expose myself… err try and gain some exposure, just now anyway. But in the wrong circumstances this could result in a substantial ‘hidden’ revenue loss to some people!

Have you had any similar Amazon experiences? Does this situation work in reverse if you are living in America?

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