Amazon strikes again! #IndiePublishing #KindleCountdown

Authors, don’t you just love getting those emails from Amazon that tell you they are changing the rules?

I assume everyone got the notification about the need to change the price of your books to accommodate the differing VAT charges in different countries?

Here in the UK, VAT is 20%, and Amazon will now deduct that 20% before calculating royalty payments, so to maintain the same income from each sale, (and, if set to the minimum price for the 70% royalty, to remain eligible), we must up our prices.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve quite a lot going on over the next few weeks, and so I didn’t forget (this comes into force on January 1st), I went ahead and amended the price of DESPRITE MEASURES, so it didn’t drop 70% eligibility.

I then went back to what I was doing – setting up a Kindle Countdown sale for the Christmas/New Year period.

Arghhhh!

Who had forgotten the nasty little Countdown rule that says that the book’s price must have been unchanged in the preceding 30 days?

Yes, ME.

So whilst I’m able to run the sale in the US (because I only altered the UK price), I’m banned from running a concurrent one in the UK 😦

Amazon KDP help desk

Feeling rather aggrieved about this, because without the directive from Amazon to change the price, I would not be in this boat, I emailed their help desk and asked if it was possible to waive this restriction, just the once, under these one-off circumstances.

Bless them, they answer quite quickly, but it took me 3 emails to make them understand what I meant, and I don’t think I’m particularly unclear – or perhaps I’m deluding myself, but as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, I think I have a fair handle on clarity.

Anyway, the final upshot was, that although the rep who actually understood my request thought it reasonable and asked the tech guys, it turns out that the system is too inflexible to permit it.

I’m assured that this has been escalated, as the rep felt that it should be possible to deal with this sort of individual circumstance on a case by case basis.

But it won’t help me, because the dinosaur moves too slowly.

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17 comments

  1. I feel your pain, Debbie. Amazon is such a massive machine the inertia is planet-size.
    I believe the 30-day rule is a legality of consumer law to inhibit retailers inflating prices just to show a false saving/ discount. Still….
    Anyway, I trust it’s all going well for you 🙂

    P

    1. Hi Paul, nice to see you here. Yes, I do understand the reason for the rule and I think it’s a sensible one, it’s the inflexibility of the ‘Zon machine that infuriates me, that things can’t be adjusted even when their staff agree with me.

  2. That stinks. 😦

    1. Doesn’t it just?
      Thanks for dropping in, Kate.

  3. Sorry to hear Amazon has been giving you such grief. How frustrating!

    1. Thanks Molly. It’s great when it works…

  4. You have to laugh and move on. “Computer says ‘no’.”

    I love-hate Amazon. Back when the book page used to display reader-highlighted excerpts, I emailed them to request they remove one of the excerpts because it was a massive spoiler. 16 emails and 3 phone calls later, they understood what I meant. But they did remove it in the end.

    1. Wow – that’s a lot of persistence. At least they got it in the end – well done you!

  5. Hmm, had quite appreciated the niceties of all this – I’d better look at my prices, thanks

  6. That should of course be ‘had not’

    1. So many rules to trip us up with, and changing all the time, sigh.

  7. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    Ah, the system…. sometimes, it makes you want to bash your head on the floor!

  8. Deb, I feel for you. I know only too well the frustration we can endure with Amazon. I got that email and although it didn’t apply to me, I found it very confusing about the Vat price adjustment. In fact, I had read many writer’s feedback saying that they were glad they didn’t have to publish from UK because it was so confusing. And the countdown deals still confuse me. Apparently we can only run them in US and UK and anytime I went to set for UK, it told me my book wasn’t priced right for it to be run in UK promo. Then I adjusted the price and it wouldn’t accept it. I don’t even understand how it works, hence, I’ve never run a promo in UK. I’m waiting for a day everything is run fairly and universal, will it ever come? I post my countdown to my Canadian friends, who aren’t eligible to buy. It sucks!

    1. I think you have an even worse deal than we do – why on earth Amazon considers Canada separately from the US is beyond me, but then we’ve both learned by bitter experience (and wasted time) that Amazon does nothing logically.
      I don’t know why your book was considered incorrectly priced for a UK promo, but changing it is exactly the same as the problem I’ve had this time – you aren’t allowed to change the price within the 30 days running up to your deal.
      When I have this promo over and done, I’m going to write a blog post all about using Countdown, as it has so many little pitfalls if you don’t notice them.
      BTW, as I read it, the VAT thing applies to everyone – they will deduct 20% for VAT from all books you sell in the UK before calculating your 70% royalty, so if you don’t want to lose out, you’ll have to adjust your price to accommodate that.

      1. Thanks Deb. I thought so. But didn’t Amazon’s email about this VAT thing say they were going to adjust all the prices for us one time before the new year? And if I’m wrong, I don’t know the price difference for UK as what my book’s price has to be to be eligible for a UK countdown. And while I’m here, I’d like to ask you if when you run a UK countdown, are you able to run the US one at he same time?
        I’m glad you are going to do another post on this kafuffle. I will be only too happy to share! 🙂

      2. I believe Amazon are going to change the prices. but I didn’t read that properly until after I’d tinkered with my price 😦
        I can’t help with why Amazon didn’t approve your price for a UK countdown, as it looks eligible from this end. The difference in the UK will be a 20% price increase needed to accommodate the VAT addition to the book 😦 but I rather think I’ll wait and see what happens after Jan 1st, when the change comes into effect, regarding Amazon’s internal control of prices.
        And I’ve run my previous countdown in both countries simultaneously, as I’d planned to this time, but now can’t!

  9. […] Year’s Day, although unfortunately due to the unwieldy Amazon behemoth as reported in my post ‘Amazon Strikes Again’ this time the offer is only available in the […]

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