Amazon Demands Authors Do the Impossible – Control the Prices of Print Books Sold by Third-Party Sellers
As I am sure you know, Amazon requires competitive prices for ebooks sold through its site. The ToS for KDP specify that authors can’t price their ebooks at lower prices on other sites, and if Amazon finds a lower price, it reserves the right to price match.
This policy has caused all sorts of problems when Amazon has mistakenly identified a lower-priced ebook, and it causes even bigger headaches when Amazon applies to print books.
Author Rosanne Bowman forwarded an email she got from Amazon yesterday. It seems Amazon is upset that Walmart is taking a loss on a couple of Bowman’s books, so Amazon has decided to take it out on Bowman.
Amazon is committed to providing customers with a great shopping experience. We measure this in a number of ways, including high-quality content, accurate listing information, and competitive prices. We reserve the right not to offer books that don’t meet these customer expectations.
We have recently observed that the print list price you provided Amazon for the book(s) identified below is not competitive with the list price(s) of other print edition(s) of the book(s) on another sales channel:
Hook’s Daughter: The Untold Tale of a Pirate Princess (The Pirate Princess Chronicles) (ASIN: 578412454) is listed on Amazon.com at $ 9.99 and at $ 4.92 on https://www.walmart.com/ip/
Hook-s-Daughter-The-Untold- Tale-of-a-Pirate-Princess/ 951175999
In order to maintain a great customer experience for Amazon shoppers, we ask that you please reduce the KDP list price for the above titles and review your KDP catalog within the next 5 business days to ensure your book(s) are competitively priced. As always, we reserve the right to stop selling titles that are uncompetitive with offerings at other stores, and we may remove the book(s) from sale on Amazon if we cannot provide a competitive customer experience.
BTW, Amazon may not have noticed yet but Walmart also marked down another of Bowman’s books.
Walmart gets the books through Ingram, and therein lies the problem. While Bowman can set the list price at Ingram, she can’t control the price set by Walmart or any other retailer any more than she can control the price through the resale market.
When Bowman pointed this out to Amazon, she was told that she should tell Walmart to change the price.
To adjust your book’s digital list price on Walmart we suggest you contact them directly.
Yes, Bowman should contact as $500 billion per year corporation and demand that it raise its price. One could sooner stop the moon, but don’t tell Amazon that because they might add that to their list of demands.
I do not have a solution, so I am sharing this in the hopes that Amazon can be shamed into being reasonable.
P.S. And to answer your next question, no, lowering the print price is not a reasonable suggestion. Amazon’s solution requires Bowman to take a hit on the sale of a book just because Walmart decided to. That is unreasonable, and the same is true ion general for Amazon’s price-matching policy for both ebooks and print books. Why should an author or publisher take a hit to the pocketbook just because one of Amazon’s competitors decides to run a sale?