And the craziness continues. Yesterday The Sex Club, which is now selling well again, was suddenly being discounted on Amazon from $2.99 to $.99. Which means, I was suddenly making a third of the money. After cursing loud and long, I tracked down the culprit. Kobo was selling the title at $.99—even though I requested they take it down two weeks ago.
I requested the takedown because I enrolled The Sex Club in the Kindle Select program and it requires exclusivity. So the fact that it’s still selling there could also get me kicked out of the program. I’m doing everything possible to correct this, but retailers are notoriously slow about taking down books, especially if they’re selling.
I distribute to Kobo, Sony, and various other retailers through INgrooves, and this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with the discounting issue. For those not familiar, here’s the short version: Amazon will not be underpriced. If a competitor puts an ebook on sale, Amazon matches the price. This can be a serious problem for authors who make most of their money from Amazon and need to control what price their books sell for on Amazon.
When I starting losing money on Amazon, I see my mortgage payment for the next month disappearing. Which leads me to strongly consider withdrawing all my books from INgrooves. The small amount of money I make from other retailers is offset by the profit I lose from the discounting issue.
My only hesitation, as always, is readers. I want them to have full access to my books, regardless of their e-reader device. But I’m running a small publishing business (Spellbinder Press), and I have to make smart business decisions. I have to be able to track and predict profit.
Also, I have to remind readers that my ebooks are available for purchase from my website.
Other writers tell me I should upload to Smashwords as my distributor, but that doesn’t fix the discounting issue. And I’m tired of continuously having to scan the other retailers to ensure they’re not undercutting my ability to make a living from Kindle sales.
Pulling my books from INgrooves would leave me with ebooks available on Kindle and Nook only. But what I sell on B&N/Nook every month won’t even pay my cell phone bill.
After I see my first bonus payment from Amazon for enrolling in the Select program, I’ll have to decide whether keeping my Detective Jackson books on B&N is actually worth it. I predict I’ll be exclusive to Amazon by the end of the next year. Some people may see this as a sell out. But I have to make a living, and I’m worth more than minimum wage.
Readers: Can you sympathize with this decision?
Writers: How do you deal with the discounting issue?