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Amazon Hacking: Price Matching

Saturday, 20 April 2013

If you publish books via Amazon KDP, you'll know about KDP Select. In return for publishing exclusively through Amazon you get to price your book to free for five days every quarter. The idea, obviously, is to encourage customers to try your work. Perhaps they'll like other things you've published and buy them. Perhaps they'll tell their friends, who will come along later and buy. Perhaps they'll all leave reviews.

In any case, it's worth experiemtning with. But what if you want a book to be permanently free? Now that isn't something I'd normally recommend. Giving stuff away for free isn't a great business model. But for books in a series, I think it does make sense. If you give the first one away, people will be tempted to download and try. If they like it enough, maybe some of them will come back and buy subsequent books. It seems like everyone wins: writer, reader and publisher. But, unfortunately, KDP Select doesn't let you do it.

Except, by dabbling in the dark arts of price matching, you can achieve it. I'd read about people doing this and thought I'd give it a go. It turns out to be extremely easy. I've price matched The Wrong Tom Jacks and it is free to download on both and It should be permanently free too. The approach is certainly effective. Tom Jacks has been hovering about the #1 spot in the free Kindle cyberpunk chart ever since. It's also been as high as #3000 in all free Kindle books, without me doing any publicity:

Now I just have to hope all the folks downloading it for free like it enough to want to pay for the other four episodes...

So, how do you achieve this? First, take your book out of Select. Then, when you're in the clear, publish your book to other ebook retailers (e.g. via Smashwords), specifying a price of free. Finally, once your book is appearing on the other book stores for free, tell Amazon about it. There's a link to do that on each book's page:

That's it. Hopefully, within a few days, Amazon will adjust their price to match and your book will be set to free. It might be a good idea to ask a few friends to report the zero price, too. Quite how Amazon's routines work is a mystery, but it can't do any harm.

One word of caution: I've heard of people getting their books stuck on a price of zero when they really didn't want it, so be careful what you price match. But if you're happy for a book to remain free (as I am with Tom Jacks), give it a go...


  1. Sounds like another worthy experiment. I've tried to follow in your footsteps with one of mine, and so far it's free everywhere except B&N and Amazon. I'll give it a few more days to catch on.

    1. It only takes a few days in my experience, but others have said it can take a week or two. Stick with it!

  2. Simon, I wanna pick up a copy of The Genehunter but I'll have to convert it to work on my Kobo. Are you planning to sell it places other than Amazon at some point too? If so I'll go the lazy route and get it then LOL

    1. Definitely - in fact The Wrong Tom Jacks is now available in all formats (see the Genehunter page on my blog) and the others will become available in all formats just as soon as they're out of KDP Select. The Kobo link for the first book is here.

    2. Ahh thank ye, thank ye.

      I may wait until the compilation is out in Kobo to get it rather than picking each story up individually but then again, I may not LOL My Kobo is a lil empty-feeling these days ;)

    3. I could send you a free review copy if you like? No obligations, of course, but any reviews gratefully received...


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