Wednesday, 25 April 2012

How to Get High Royalty Rates for your Ebook by Price Matching

In an ideal world, the self-published author would like to get high royalty earnings for ebook sales and yet keep the cost of the book down for readers. I learned an ebook pricing tip the hard way. By a loophole, (and on Amazon's discretion) you can sell your kindle books at competitive prices and keep most of the royalties for yourself. How? Read on.

How to Keep the Large Chunk of you Book Royalty

I learned a great loophole in getting maximum royalty rates for kindle book sales and yet keep the price down for the Kindle readership. When you first publish your ebook on the Amazon Kindle store you will be presented with 2 pricing options. You can either: Price your book at between 99c and $2.98 (or above $10.00 which is too high for a Kindle book) and get 35% royalties or, You can price your book at between $2.99 and $9.99 and get the 70% royalty. Every writer wants to get optimum sales for novels. Being an unknown writer, I decided to opt for setting the price of my book at below $2.99. However, this meant I would receive only 35% royalty. You also have the choice of setting the price of your book in other countries based on the dollar.

Big Royalties for Your Book

My book sales were satisfactory, but after a while got rather discontent with getting only 35% of the total sale of my books. Per book, I was getting around 50c (or 30p in English money). I would have to sell an awful lot of books to make any difference to my earnings. But convinced my book sales would die if I put them up for $2.99, I bit the bullet.

Get More Money by Price Matching your Ebook

After a while, I decided to increase the price of my novels to $2.99 and get into the 70% royalty option. However, when I published my changes, I discovered that my original price had remained the same, but my new price showed up on my Amazon book page as a ‘recommended retail price’ with a score through it.

However, as I had increased the price of my book in draft, I was now getting 70% royalties of my book sales. The price of my book had stayed the same due to price matching.

Ebook Pricing Tips to Get Higher Royalties

I had previously published my books on Smashwords, which distributes to other ebook retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and Diesel. Any changes you make will take a few weeks to filter through. As I had priced my books at the original price on Smashwords, this price was still showing up on these retailers. Amazon’s system had detected this cheaper price and price matched it. So, you can price your book for less than $2.99 may get 70% royalty. But do note, that Amazon will not always do so. A clause in their contract states they will only price match at their discretion.

Make Money from Price Matching

So if you want to get bigger royalties for book sales and keep the cost of the book down, follow these simple steps:

1 Publish your book on Smashwords at the desired book price, (which in this instance will be between 99c and $2.99). You may have to wait a few days or weeks for the book to filter through to the other ebook retailers (so long as you have formatted your book properly. More about ebook formatting can be found on this blog.)

2 Once your book price has registered on the internet, publish your book on Amazon’s kindle store, but put it up for more than $2.99 (whatever you like) and opt for the 70% royalty option.

3 Amazon will detect the cheaper price and (in some cases) price match it. The price you had set will show up as a recommended retail price with a score through it. The purchaser will believe there is a bargain Kindle book to be snapped up. The price of your book will show up as less than $2.99 but you still get the 70% royalties.

4 If the price match does not occur, scroll down the product page and you will see a link to 'tell us about a cheaper price.' Click the link and you will be able to paste the link of the store concerned, the price of the book and shipping costs. Beware, if you reupload the book for any reason, the price match (when it occurs) could be wiped off.

It’s as simple as that. Sadly, I had learned this lesson after a year or so.

Price Match Your Ebook and Make More Money

Amazon’s system of matching a cheaper price for ebooks elsewhere can be use to the author’s advantage. This means you can put your book out at a competitive price and still get a big chunk of royalties. But do note, Amazon will only price match at their discretion.

Bear in mind, however, that book sales that occur outside the US and the UK will fall within the 35% royalty bracket. But for every 10 sales I make, only about 1 or 2 will fall within this category.

Update on Price Matching Fiction Books

As times change so quickly in the publishing world, felt I needed to provide an update. Nowadays, it is not as easy as it used to be to get books price matched. Amazon will not necessarily price match if a book can be found cheaper elsewhere. More persistence is needed and sometimes months will elapse before the price matching kicks in. I have several book published and some of them are not price matched with other channels. However, will still price my books a little more cheaply on other ebook retailer sites to provide some pricing competition.

Tips on Ebook Marketing

How to format your ebook
The best price for your ebook
Tips on writing novels


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Unfortunately the price matching loophole did not work for me. My eBook has been published on all the major eBook sites since November and it's priced there at 99 cents. I raised my priced from 99 cents to $2.99 on Amazon a couple of days ago and I even informed Amazon of a lower price elsewhere as you suggested but my book is still listed at 2.99

    1. Thanks for your comment. Price matching was once easier to attain, but as time goes on, has become more difficult. Things are constantly changing in ebpublishing and so is Amazon's practice. One of my books took half a year to price-match. It remained so for 6 months before going back to its normal price. At present, the same book is free in the UK but not so in the US. Sadly, Amazon will do one thing for one book and then go the other way for another. The only advice I can give, is to wait a little longer. I almost gave up before the price match kicked in months later. Amazon can appear fickle in its decision making. This means great patience on the author's part.