Author James Crawford had his self-published e-book Blood-Soaked & Contagious for sale at $4.99 through Amazon. On September 30, his sales suddenly went through the roof. What happened? Amazon had erroneously set the sales price to zero because B&N listed a partial sample of that same e-book for free.
Crawford tried to get the situation rectified, but a week later it was still free and Amazon had given away over 5000 copies. He removed the e-book from sale to stop the losses. Amazon's response:
We’re sorry, we’re unable to pay royalties for your sales when your title was listed at $0 on our website. As per our KDP Terms and Conditions, we retain discretion over the retail price of a Kindle book. For more information, please refer to our KDP Terms and Conditions at the below link.
The Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions Pricing Page says:
Price Matching Determinations: If you have concerns about or object to our price-matching determinations and how they affect your Royalties, you can switch your Royalty option for future sales of the Digital Book to the 35% Royalty Option as described above, as your sole remedy.
Big help that is. Especially since the 35% Royalty Option says, "If we match a free promotion of your Digital Book somewhere else, your Royalty during that promotion will be zero."
Crawford's blog posting on the matter: http://www.bloodsoakedandwriting.com/20 ... ake-sense/
Today, Crawford writes:
A number of people have pointed out to me that I might have a valid case for legal action in regards to Kindle Direct Publishing’s error. Maybe so. Maybe so.
There is a problem with taking KDP to court. They are one arm of a giant monster, and it holds the Sword of Damocles over the heads of unrepresented, independent authors. The magical blade in question is forged from their right to terminate your contract with KDP at any time, for any reason, and NEVER WORK WITH YOU AGAIN. ...
The worse part about this, is that by speaking up at all, having my complaint aired on the internet, the likelihood that the giant will see me (and feel my lice-like tickle) is GREATLY increased. All the giant needs to do is swat me once, lawsuit or no, and I’m done… no money… no market… 3/4 of a second of notoriety… and the rest is silence.
See? My head is already poking out of the hole. I don’t know if I care to poke it up higher. That’s a mighty sharp sword.