Independent publishing comes with many perks. One of them is the ability to set a title’s price to anything we want, including free for short or long term promotions. Sometimes, setting a book’s price to free is an easy task on most retailers, but not so on Amazon.
You see, Amazon doesn’t allow for setting the price to $0.00. Therefore, you will have to resort to forcing a price matching to Amazon’s competitors.
I’m going to share with you a few steps that can facilitate the process and make it all go smoothly.
First and foremost, you will need to set the price to $0.00 at all retailers that allow for it (Kobo, Nook, Google Play and iTunes). That usually takes a few clicks, and once the price is set and the book’s pages at all applicable storefronts are displaying the new price (that can take from a few minutes to a few hours), you will then proceed to the final retailer: Amazon.
Sometimes, Amazon’s bots will pick up the lower price and lower the price automatically, but more often than not, price matching requires a bit of communication with KDP’s support team. That is not a painful exchange if you submit ALL the pertinent and requested information KDP requires to price match your book in one fell swoop.
To do that, login to your KDP dashboard, and click on the Help link.
Click on Contact Us.
Select Amazon Product Page and the Price Matching option.
Begin the form with a clear subject line such as “Price matching for all territories needed” or something similar.
In the body of the form, before the pre-filled lines, you can add an introduction explaining the length of your promotion and if it’s required for any time-sensitive any major newsletter promotion like Bookbub. That’s always an incentive for them to process the price matching quickly.
The other information required is as follows:
Copy the ASIN of the book(s) for which you are requesting price matching. I assume that in cases of print books also being price matched, you can add the ASIN for the print format here.
Type of request: (Add price match or Update retail price)
Price matching (you can use the same form and list Update retail price to revert the price matching later)
ASIN (Kindle edition(s)):
Copy the ASIN of the ebook(s) for which you are requesting price matching.
Kindle stores: (Example: All, or .COM, UK, DE, etc.)
ALL or specific territories in case your promotion is only being run in a few specific territories (use the territory codes)
Current competitor link(s):
This is the tricky part. If you are price matching US only, you can send the US link for your book on iTunes, Kobo, Nook or Google Play. Copy the URL for the book’s page on the storefront of any of these retailers and paste here.
For all other territories, you will need iTunes’ links to the territories you want to price match. It will require a bit more work but nothing too difficult to obtain. (Personal observation: iTunes links seem to always have more weight than the other retailers, regardless of territory).
Amazon has the following territories:
US, UK(Great Britain), DE(Germany), FR(France), ES(Spain), IT(Italy), NL(Netherlands), JP(Japan), BR(Brazil), CA(Canada), MX(Mexico), AU(Australia), and IN(India).
To locate direct links to each territory on iTunes, first you will have to find the link to your book on the iTunes store. If you use iTunes Connect, visit your book’s page and follow the link to the iBooks store or copy the link listed under the Store Link.
That link will work for the US territory. To list the other territories in your message to KDP support, simply duplicate the URL for the number of territories you want to price match, then replace the circled part with the proper territory as follows:
India is not one of iTunes territories, so you won’t be able to price match it this way.
Another way to find the links to each of the territories is to use the iTunes Link Maker.
Select the country and the media type, search for the book’s title and select the book you want. You can then copy the direct link listed on that page.
Use the same formula above to replace the country codes to what you need.
In the end, the list of links in your message to KDP should look a bit like this:
Current competitor price(s):
Here, you need to list the prices for the territories in their currency. Pounds, Euros, Reais, Yens, etc. If free at all territories, list $0.00 for all.
You can close the form with a formal “Thank you for your prompt attention to my request” here and submit the form.
We have usually received a formal letter within 24 hours letting us know that they have received the request and are looking through the links. Price matching usually happens within 24 to 48 hours of submission of the form. Once approved, they will send you a canned message saying that they reserve the right to not price match the books, and list the TOS items that apply.
Price matching happens swiftly after that.
Please note that the bots are usually also quick at picking up price changes of books moving well at Amazon’s competitors. So while you may not need to submit the form above, it’s a safeguard in case you are doing that for an upcoming time-sensitive promotion.
Hope that helps,
P. S. Please allow 2-4 business days for Amazon to process the price matching request. Submit the request at least 4 business days ahead of any promotion you have planned. Allow more time around holidays and pay attention to scheduled closures. It's unlikely your request can be processed with very short notice.