More Changes to AMS Advertising—Up and Down Bidding

 

AMS ADVERTISING BIDDING DYNAMICS

The amount of your bid may now change.

This includes ad campaigns that were running prior to April 22, 2019.

There are now three campaign bidding strategies:

  1. Dynamic bids—down only. Your bid is automatically lowered when Amazon predicts that your ad would be less likely to convert to a sale.
  2. Dynamic bids—up and down. Your bid is automatically raised as much as 100% when Amazon predicts that your ad would be more likely to convert to a sale, and lowers your bid when it would be less likely to convert to a sale.
  3. Fixed bids. Your bid is fixed, unless you check one of two boxes that allow Amazon to adjust your bid.

In addition to the bidding strategies, there are now two bid adjust options (which replace the old Bid+):

  1. You may choose to increase your bid by up to 900% to land your ad at the top of search results (first page).
  2. You may choose to increase your bid by up to 900% to land your ad on a product page.

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR OLD AD CAMPAIGN?

If you launched an ad campaign with AMS prior to April 22, 2019, the bidding strategy was automatically changed to Dynamic bids—down only.

If your ad previously had Bid+ set to on, it now includes a 50% bid adjust for top of search (first page).

MAKING SENSE OF THESE CHANGES

The main idea behind AMS advertising is relevance. When the most relevant ads show to customers, this benefits customers, it benefits Amazon, and it benefits the product being advertised.

AMS has always benefited authors and companies whose advertisements rate high in terms of relevance.

In fact, by rating high in terms of relevance, an ad campaign can actually generate more impressions at a more modest bid.

If an ad creates 2000 impressions and has no sales, from Amazon’s perspective the ad doesn’t seem very relevant to the customers seeing the ad.

If an results in a sale once on average for every 500 impressions, this ad is far more relevant than an ad that creates one sale for every 2000 impressions.

What I’ve said so far has been true for years.

The recent change of introducing bidding dynamics helps to reflect relevance in the amount of the bid itself.

In circumstances where an ad has a history of seeming less relevant, a dynamic bid would lower the bid for less relevant ads.

In circumstances where an ad has a history of seeming more relevant, a dynamic up-and-down bid would raise the bid for more relevant ads.

DON’T GO OVERBOARD

Amazon makes it easy for authors to bid too high.

It’s very common for authors to bid more than they can afford to bid.

If you bid too high, your ad is more likely to result in a short-term loss, and you’re more likely to think that AMS isn’t for you.

First of all, it helps to realize that AMS isn’t just for books. There are many businesses using AMS to advertise many other products.

When you’re selling a product that retails for $100 or more, and where your profit is $10 or more, you can afford to bid $1 or more and you can afford to include a large bid adjust option.

When you’re an author selling a book for $5 with a royalty of $3, you can’t afford to bid $1 or close to it (there may be exceptional circumstances, but very rarely).

If you mostly sell Kindle eBooks, and if your average royalty is close to 70% (if your books include many pictures, your effective royalty is probably much less due to the delivery fee), then you want your ACOS (average cost of sale) to be 70% or less so that you’re not losing money on your ad.

If you mostly sell paperback books, and if your average royalty is close to 30%, then you want your ACOS to be less than 30%. The list price should be higher for a paperback, which helps to offset this lower percentage.

Figure out what your average royalty is, then keep a close eye on your ACOS and strive to keep it below your royalty percentage.

For comparison, my ads (some for books under pen names) generate millions of impressions (combined) in a single month with an ACOS usually around 25%. So it is possible to generate many impressions at a modest ACOS.

My ad campaigns use dynamic bidding—down only. I don’t currently raise my bids. The main reason is that this happened automatically on April 22. But after about a month of data, I don’t yet see a convincing reason to change to up-and-down bidding. I might try it with a future ad and see how it does, but the big downside is that ads will cost more.

I didn’t use Bid+, so I don’t bid extra for placement in search results or on product pages. For a nonfiction book, I would prefer to show high in search results than on a product page. But I also prefer not to pay extra for this.

It’s tempting to bid higher and bid extra. But it costs more. If you can get successful ads at a lower cost, you can run your ads for a much longer period.

The main key to success is relevance. You can actually generate good impressions at a modest bid if your targeting results in high relevance.

Part of relevance is a compelling cover, effective description, helpful Look Inside, amazing content that leads to good reviews, etc. This helps you sell more books for each 1000 impressions, which helps to rate high in terms of relevance.

Part of relevance is effective targeting. I have a knack for researching keywords and keyphrases. I spend time on Amazon typing in keywords and seeing what it suggests (yes, I know this isn’t perfect, but as it turns out, it really helps with brainstorming). I jot down keyword ideas whenever they occur to me. Use your brainstorming techniques. Now I don’t use every keyword (or better, group of related keywords) that comes to mind, but I do have a very long and varied list to begin with.

I suggest trying to bid below a half-dollar, maybe in the 30 to 40 cents range. This may not be enough with a popular broad keyword like “mystery” or with a product page for a popular book. But if you are clever enough to find combinations of keywords that do get searched several times per day, but which aren’t insanely popular, or similar popularity for product page targeting, you can get lower bids to be effective.

But you really want the targeting to be relevant for your book. That’s the most important thing. If the wrong audience is looking at your ad, you will rate poorly in terms of relevance.

If your ad isn’t performing well and it’s been a couple of weeks, you can pause or terminate your ad and start a new one. Try different targeting.

Raising the bid isn’t likely the solution to an ad that isn’t performing well because it doesn’t rate well in terms of relevance. But new targeting may help you land more impressions at a modest bid. If you can rate better in terms of relevance, you can land many more impressions.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

The KDP Delivery Fee for Large Books: Is it really worth trying to reduce the file size?

Delivery Fees

DELIVERY FEE MATH

If you price your Kindle e-book between $2.99 and $9.99, you’re eligible for the 70% royalty option.

However, Amazon charges a delivery fee of 15 cents per megabyte (Mb) for US sales. (It’s £0.10 per Mb for UK sales. I will focus on US sales in this article.)

The delivery fee is subtracted from the list price before multiplying by 70%.

Example: List price = $2.99, file size = 6 Mb

Delivery fee = $0.15 × 6 = $0.90

Royalty = ($2.99 – $0.90) × 0.70 = $2.09 × 0.70 = $1.46

The only file size that matters is the converted .mobi file size that you see on page 2 of the publishing process at Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The size of the file that you upload isn’t the number to go by.

The delivery fee is most significant for books that include many pictures.

IS IT WORTH TRYING TO REDUCE THE FILE SIZE?

If you’re planning to set the list price of your Kindle e-book between $2.99 and $9.99, you know that a smaller converted .mobi file size results in a smaller delivery fee.

So it’s intuitive to assume that reducing the file size will lead to a larger royalty.

I had some fun with the math the other day, working through several examples. I observed that in many cases, reducing the file size wouldn’t have a significant impact on the royalty unless the file size was substantially reduced. But there are cases where a change in file size has a greater impact on the royalty.

One factor is that for a very large file size, the 35% royalty rate actually pays a higher royalty. The delivery fee only applies when you select the 70% royalty option.

It also depends on the list price that you set and the converted .mobi file size that you’re starting with (i.e. before you proceed to reduce the file size).

We’ll get to the math in a moment (and some handy tables that will do the math for you).

But there is one more point that you should consider: It may be better to delivery high quality pictures to the customer than to try to reduce the file size. (Besides that, Amazon KDP automatically compresses pictures in the file that you upload.)

So when we look at the math, remember that the quality of the pictures is important, too.

DELIVERY FEE MATH

Here is an example, illustrating whether or not it’s worth it to reduce the file size for a particular situation:

Example: List price = $2.99, file size = 12 Mb

Delivery fee = $0.15 × 12 = $1.80

70% Royalty = ($2.99 – $1.80) × 0.70 = $1.19 × 0.70 = $0.83

35% Royalty = $2.99 × 0.35 = $1.05

If you reduce the file size 30%, down to 8.4 Mb:

Delivery fee = $0.15 × 8.4 = $1.26

Royalty = ($2.99 – $1.26) × 0.70 = $1.73 × 0.70 = $1.21

You earn a whopping 16 cents more by reducing the file size 30%. (Ignore the $0.83 since the 35% royalty paid better at the original file size.)

However, if you reduce the file size 50%, down to 6 Mb:

Delivery fee = $0.15 × 6 = $0.90

Royalty = ($2.99 – $0.90) × 0.70 = $2.09 × 0.70 = $1.46

You earn 41 cents more by reducing the file size 50%. It takes a substantial change in file size to significantly improve the royalty in this example.

I had some fun with this and made several tables. The tables do the math for you.

KDP DELIVERY FEE TABLES

There are 8 tables below, one for each of the following price points: $2.99, $3.99, $4.99, $5.99, $6.99, $7.99, $8.99, and $9.99.

Each table shows you how much you would need to reduce your file size in order to see a significant improvement on your royalty.

Here is how to use the tables:

  • Find the table with your list price. The list price appears near the top left corner of the table.
  • Find your current converted .mobi file size in the left column. (You need to upload your file to KDP and continue onto page 2 of the publishing process to find out what your file size is. Don’t look at the size of your Word file or any other file on your computer.)
  • The next column over (the 0% column) shows you what your current royalty is. (Check this on page 2 of the publishing process. It may be slightly different, since your exact file size might not be listed.)
  • As you continue to the right, the row tells you what your royalty would be depending on what percentage you reduce your converted .mobi file size.
  • The cells in green (and the figure at the top of the table, near the left) correspond to the 35% royalty option. For these cells, the 35% royalty rate pays higher than the 70% royalty option.

Here is an example:

Example: List price = $3.99, file size = 18 Mb

Find the table with the $3.99 list price near the top left.

Scroll down to 18 MB in the left column.

The table shows that the 35% royalty option pays a higher royalty, which is $1.40.

Now scroll to the right: The royalty won’t increase unless the file size is reduced at least 30%, and even then it only pays 7 cents more.

Scroll further to the right: If you reduce the file size 50%, then the royalty would improve to $1.95, compared to $1.40.

Table 1: $2.99

Delivery Fees 299

Table 2: $3.99

Delivery Fees 399

Table 3: $4.99

Delivery Fees 499

Table 4: $5.99

Delivery Fees 599

Table 5: $6.99

Delivery Fees 699

Table 6: $7.99

Delivery Fees 799

Table 7: $8.99

Delivery Fees 899

Table 8: $9.99

Delivery Fees 999

TEST IT OUT

If you find that reducing your converted .mobi file size may have a significant impact on your royalty, the next step is to see if you can reduce the file size as much as you expect, and, if so, what quality output you get.

Usually, most of the file size comes from images.

Amazon already compresses images when you upload your book to KDP, so if you compress them yourself, they get compressed again.

If you have an idea for possibly reducing the file size, make a test book with a small number of images. Upload the test file with the original images, see what your converted .mobi file size is on page 2 of the publishing process at KDP, make a new test file using the method that you’re testing out, and see how much it reduced the converted .mobi file size (if at all).

If the file size reduced enough, preview the book carefully to see how well it came out. If you can sideload it onto a Kindle Fire with a large display size (in terms of pixels) and another device with a much smaller display size (in terms of pixels), that will help to see if the pictures are good enough.

(The Kindle Textbook Creator produces an efficient file size, maintaining quality images. It’s suitable for an image-heavy book, or a textbook. But the resulting e-book has fixed format, works with pinch-and-zoom, and the e-book won’t be available for purchase from some devices, like the Kindle Paperwhite. This is suitable for some kinds of e-books, but not others.

If you have a very large file size, and you have a e-book that might be suitable for the Kindle Textbook Creator, it might be worth testing Amazon’s free tool out.)

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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Notifying Kindle Customers of Updates (Has Changed)

Image from ShutterStock

Image from ShutterStock

NOTIFYING KINDLE CUSTOMERS OF UPDATES

It happens. After you publish a book, you think of a way to improve it. Or you find a typo. Or you view it on a friend’s device and discover a formatting problem. Or a customer notifies you of an issue. Or a customer suggests something in a review that never occurred to you. Or the content of a nonfiction book becomes out-of-date.

For some reason or another, you need to update your Kindle e-book.

That’s the easy part: Simply visit your bookshelf at KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), upload a new content file, preview your book carefully on each device, and publish the revision.

Your old book remains available for sale until the new one goes live, usually within 12 to 24 hours in the US. (If you don’t want the original to remain available in the interim period, simply unpublish the book from your KDP bookshelf.)

Naturally, you want all of your customers to receive your updated edition. You’d also like to notify your customers that a new edition is available.

That’s the hard part.

It’s never been ‘easy,’ but KDP’s policy on notifying Kindle customers of updates has actually changed.

Their policy is clearly customer-oriented, and that’s a good thing.

But it’s not customer-oriented in a way that’s intuitive to most authors. Authors are focused on how their Kindle e-book has improved, and so they tend to focus on how customers would appreciate having the new Kindle edition (or at least knowing that the new edition is available).

However, in many cases, that would actually be less customer-oriented.

Why? Because there is something else to consider.

Many readers:

  • highlight passages in their Kindle e-books
  • place bookmarks in their Kindle e-books
  • record notes in their Kindle e-books

Imagine customers who have spent hours not only reading your e-book, but highlighting, bookmarking, and taking notes in your e-book.

Those customers may become quite frustrated to lose all that hard work simply because your new edition overrides their original.

Therefore, Amazon must weigh the significance of your update and how customers might benefit from that against the possible loss of highlights, bookmarks, and notes.

The result is that KDP now only sends out automatic updates to Kindle customers when the update corrects serious readability issues, such as:

  • overlapping text
  • cutoff images

If the update does not correct a severe readability issue, KDP won’t issue an automatic update for your e-book.

(It’s true that customers can turn updates on or off, but not all customers take the time to do it or know how.)

KDP will ask you to describe the errors, and may ask you to provide the location numbers of the errors (you can read your book on a Kindle device or in the Kindle previewer to find the location numbers).

KDP will examine the errors to determine whether or not they hamper readability severely enough to warrant an update:

  • For destructive or critical errors (as deemed by KDP) replaced by major corrections, KDP will email current customers to let them know that an update exists and provide directions for how to obtain the updated Kindle e-book.
  • For distracting errors (as determined by KDP) replaced by minor corrections, current customers won’t be notified and updates will only be made available to customers who don’t yet own the book.
  • If KDP discovers critical errors that still need to be replaced, they will remove your book from sale until you correct those issues.

Of course, the best thing is to avoid needing an update, but it’s not always possible. Especially, in nonfiction, you can’t always future proof your book because information, technology, and trends are often dynamic.

For books where KDP chooses not to notify customers of updates, the next best thing is to let your following know on your blog, through social media, or via an email newsletter.

In addition to including information about how to follow you in an about the author section of your book, provide a compelling reason for readers to do this (e.g. a free relevant PDF file of something your audience is likely to want, or to learn about possible short-term promotional savings on your future books).

But you also have to balance publicly announcing that you made a mistake versus helping your current readers receive your updates (by contacting KDP to request that the updated edition be sent to their device, or perhaps you could send a copy of your book). If you have an email newsletter where the contact list consists predominantly of people who have purchased your book, then there is less concern about publicizing your mistakes; but if you post on your blog or social media about a mistake, then your mistake receives much exposure (and if you feed your blog or tweets into your Author Central page, current shoppers may see it).

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

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International Kindle Prices & the 70% Royalty

International Prices

When you publish an e-book with Kindle, you must set your price for the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Europe, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Japan.

Most authors will focus on the price in one or two countries, usually the United States and Great Britain, and not put much thought into the others.

At first, this makes sense. For one, most authors sell very few e-books in countries where English isn’t the dominant language; for another, most authors who publish with Kindle are much less familiar with the other currencies and markets.

There is an EASY button: Just let KDP automatically determine the price in each country.

However, a little refinement may be worthwhile.

Examples

For example, if the suggested Great Britain pricing is £1.83, your e-book won’t be eligible for a Countdown Deal in the United Kingdom. If you’re enrolled in KDP Select and considering use of this tool, you should set your Great Britain price to at least £1.93.

As another example, suppose the suggested price for India is ₹423. If your e-book is enrolled in KDP Select and qualifies for the 70% royalty rate, you could draw a higher royalty by reducing the price to ₹399. In India, the maximum list price for a 70% royalty is ₹399 (but note that the rate is 35% in India, regardless of the list price, for e-books that are not enrolled in KDP Select).

The chart above shows the minimum and maximum list prices by country for the 70% royalty option. The asterisk (*) designates countries where 70% is only available through KDP Select enrollment (India, Brazil, Japan, Mexico). (This is a relatively minor benefit of KDP Select. It’s not compelling to make you switch to KDP Select, but if you’re in KDP Select for other reasons, you might as well take advantage of it.)

Another reason to consider refining your price is to change the ending. Suppose the suggested price in Japan is ¥673. You might raise it to ¥695 or ¥699, for example. (Or you might check out the sale price of your e-book in other countries after adding Value-Added Tax, VAT, and reset your price based on the actual selling price.)

Here is a link to the KDP pricing page: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A301WJ6XCJ8KW0

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Kindle Countdown Deals—Better than the Original KDP Select?

Countdown

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) sent out an email announcement today about the new Kindle Countdown Deals—a new promotional tool for KDP Select users.

This looks very promising. It will entice some authors who’ve left to switch back to KDP Select; and any who have been contemplating leaving KDP Select may be swayed to stay.

The drawbacks to the KDP free promo are well-known:

  • You don’t earn any royalties for your promotion.
  • The freebies affect your free rank, but not your paid rank. So your sales rank goes up while your book is free.
  • Changes in Amazon Associates’ policies have greatly discouraged sites from promoting the freebies.
  • People who loathe the KDP Select freebies can take out their frustrations by leaving one-star reviews, and they don’t even have to buy or read the book to do this and get it to show as an Amazon Verified Purchase.
  • Many customers from outside your target audience are attracted to the free price; since they aren’t familiar with your genre, they’re less likely to leave a favorable review.
  • When the book is free, many shoppers won’t bother to read the description and check out the free sample, so they are more likely to be disappointed with your book.
  • An abundance of freebies and 99-cent books makes it difficult to create the perception of value.

The new Kindle Countdown Deals solves these problems:

  • Your book won’t be free—but it will be at least $1.00 less than the list price. So you don’t have to worry about not earning royalties during your promotion.
  • You can even earn 70% if your sale price is lower than $2.99, but you do have to contend with the usual delivery fee. Your book must have the 70% option to begin with, of course, for this to apply.
  • Websites can promote your discounted book through Amazon Associates without having to worry about the penalty for linking to freebies.
  • You will have paid sales during the promotion, so this should affect your sales rank, unlike free promotions.
  • If anyone wants to slam your book, at least they’ll have to pay for it if they want it to show as an Amazon Verified Purchase.
  • Shoppers are more likely to read your description and check out the Look Inside, so they are less likely to be frustrated with a book that’s really not for them (provided that your packaging is clear).
  • Customers are more likely to be in your target audience since they actually have to pay for your book.
  • There won’t be as many free books because many authors who ordinarily use the free promotion tool will be using the countdown tool instead (you must choose one or the other for any 90-day period). Similarly, many of the books that are always 99 cents will now be $2.99 or higher for 83 out of every 90 days. Amazon has given everyone an incentive to choose a higher list price.

Here are some more notes about the new countdown tool:

  • You can use the tool for up to 7 out of every 90 days, with as many as 5 price increments.
  • You can only schedule one Countdown Deal per 90-day enrollment period. (You can schedule one in the US and another in the UK). Unlike the free promo, you can’t run two or more separate sales. The only way to use all 7 days is to use them all at once. See https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/kindle-countdown-deal-limit-one-per-90-days/
  • The regular list price must be between $2.99 to $24.99 (or 1.99 to 14.99 pounds).
  • The promotion can be as short as one hour or as long as one week.
  • You must wait 30 days after joining KDP Select and since you last changed your regular list price.
  • It looks like you can schedule the promotion without having to republish (like you do for ordinary price changes).

Some people are infamous for complaining about too many free and 99-cent books. Some of these people are already talking about how the new countdown program will drive even more books to the bottom. But that’s crazy!

The new countdown program encourages the books at the bottom price point to move up!

The minimum regular list price must be $2.99 in order to be eligible. The books that participate in the countdown won’t be free. The books that are 99 cents through the countdown program will only be 99 cents for 7 out of every 90 days. Right now they are 99 cents for 90 out of 90 days.

Many authors are already doing special short-term promotions. Now there is a tool for this, they can earn 70% instead of 35% royalties during their promotions, and all customers will see the discount at Amazon, even if they hadn’t heard about the author’s promotion.

If you have several pictures and your book is on the 70% option, the delivery fee may be significant. What you want to determine is whether your royalty would be greater at 70% or 35% for the discounted price (because of the delivery fee, if the file size is large, it may actually be greater at 35%). Note that you can’t change the royalty plan during the promotion or for fewer than 24 hours prior to the promotion. So you must change this, if needed, 24 hours before the promotion (and then change it back afterward, if desired). This would be the case if you normally earn a greater royalty at 70%, but would earn a better royalty at 35% during the promotion. If you have several pictures, you should check into this.

You still need to promote your sale if you want the promotional tool to be effective. Just dropping the price won’t have nearly the impact as effectively marketing the promotion.

This also looks like a great tool for Read Tuesday—a Black Friday type of event just for books.

Click the following link to learn more about the new countdown tool:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=201298260&ref_=pe_445910_34749920

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Kindle MatchBook has Launched at Amazon (Updated)

Just Launched

Update: It looks like Amazon has updated Kindle MatchBook to display an advertisement about Kindle MatchBook on the top of the page for print books, where there is a corresponding Kindle edition enrolled in the MatchBook program.

Today Amazon launched the new Kindle MatchBook program. There is an advertisement for it on Amazon’s homepage, presently, and a very brief email was sent out to authors who had already signed up for it.

The idea behind the MatchBook program is to allow customers who purchase a print edition of the book to receive a significant discount off the Kindle edition of the same book (it may even be free).

MatchBook only applies to books where the same edition is available both in Kindle and in print (i.e. paperback or hardcover).

Not all books are in the MatchBook program. The publisher (or author, if self-published) must manually enroll the book in the program. Some publishers may opt not to do this. The discount is also at the publisher’s discretion, provided that it is a minimum of 50% off the Kindle edition’s list price (and must be free, 99 cents, $1.99, or $2.99).

You can learn more about the new Kindle MatchBook program by clicking the following link, which goes to a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) page:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=AVJCUBZXDNUM4

If the Kindle edition offers MatchBook, you’ll see one of three things near the top of the Kindle edition page:

  • Nothing at all if you already own the Kindle edition. Why frustrate you by showing you that you could have bought it for less by waiting for MatchBook to come out? If you want to see the MatchBook offer, log out of Amazon first.
  • An offer to buy the Kindle edition at the discounted MatchBook price if you already own the print edition of the same book.
  • A note that you could buy the Kindle edition at the discounted MatchBook price if you also purchase the print edition if you don’t already own the print edition.

There are a few important things to note here:

  • If you try to give the book as a gift, you must pay the full list price. Apparently, the MatchBook price doesn’t apply to gifting. That’s too bad, as it would be a nice incentive for someone to buy the print edition to keep and the Kindle edition to gift. However, you can keep the Kindle edition and give the print edition away as a gift (or try to resell it used, perhaps).
  • It looks like you can only buy one Kindle edition at the MatchBook price. This may help to prevent possible abuse.
  • The print edition page now includes an advertisement about the MatchBook program at the top of the page if the Kindle edition of the same book is enrolled in the MatchBook program.

A cool thing about MatchBook for authors is that if you ordinarily earn the 70% royalty rate on a sale, you still earn 70% if the MatchBook price is below $2.99.

Note that if you make the MatchBook price free, MatchBook sales won’t affect your book’s paid sales rank. Instead, they will affect your book’s free rank. This is what KDP told me after a week of research. If you discover otherwise, please share the news. 🙂 (It will be interesting if your book toggles between free and paid sales ranks with a free MatchBook price, since some customers will still be buying the book at the list price because they don’t own the print edition.)

It doesn’t look like the month-to-date sales report will help you see how many MatchBook sales you have, but you should be able to see it in the six-week report. Unfortunately, it will be a while before any MatchBook sales appear in a six-week report since the program started today.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

MatchBook and Kindle Sales Rank (A Hard-to-Get Answer)

When I went to enroll my books in Kindle MatchBook—a new program from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP); you can learn more about MatchBook by clicking this link—an important point occurred to me:

  • Will the MatchBook sales improve your Kindle sales rank?
  • If so, if you make the MatchBook price free, will that also affect your sales rank?

Here’s why it’s important: If the MatchBook freebies would improve your Kindle sales rank, that would serve as an incentive to offer print customers a free Kindle edition.

I checked my email, the September KDP newsletter, and the information about MatchBook available from a link on my KDP bookshelf (which all boiled down to the same information), and this point wasn’t clarified. I then posted this as a question in the KDP community forum; there was some interest in the answer, but nobody there apparently knew the answer, either.

Next, I contacted KDP. They responded in a day, but only to tell me that they needed 5 more days to figure out the answer. (!) Today, KDP responded (yep, today was day number five).

If I was informed correctly, 99 cent, $1.99, and $2.99 MatchBook sales will improve your Kindle sales rank, whereas free MatchBook sales will instead count toward your free sales rank.

Wait a minute. Something seems strange here.

When you make an e-book free through KDP Select, the book is free all day. During this time, the e-book has a free sales rank. When the free promotion ends, the e-book returns to the paid sales rank.

But MatchBook won’t be free all day! People can buy your Kindle e-book at any time. So if one customer “buys” your e-book for free through MatchBook, three seconds later someone else might pay for it at the Kindle sales price.

What’s going to happen? Will the book have a free sales rank and a paid sales rank at the same time? Will your book be ranked among freebies and paid books simultaneously?

It seems it may be so, based on what I’ve been told. (Or your book could toggle back and forth between the free and paid sales ranks with every free or paid purchase.)

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)