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How to Make your eBook Permanently Free on Amazon

QUESTION

How do I publish a book permanently free on Amazon?

Or for a significantly cheaper price, like 25 cents.


ANSWER

Amazon Kindle does something called "price matching" and there is a trick to it.

  1. You need to list your book on Amazon Kindle for the lowest price normally possible, usually $0.99 to $2.99.
  2. You need to do at least 2 of the following techniques listed below in steps 3 to 7.
  3. Make your book available on your website in PDF format for FREE. (I recommend locking the PDF so it cannot be edited and people cannot copy/paste the contents.)
  4. Post your book on Wattpad for free.
  5. Post your book on Smashwords for free. (This option is particularly recommended as it also gets your book distributed to Apple and Sony, which are Amazon rivals.)
  6. Post your book on Project Gutenberg which has a new Self-Publishing Portal.
  7. Post your book for free on other locations.
  8. You need to go to your book's listing on Amazon, find the link that says "tell us about a lower price" and click it. Fill out the following form and copy/paste the links of where the book can be found for free. If you can get other people to also do this for you then you will see faster results.

Amazon will eventually price match the other locations, but it may take awhile and multiple people clicking the "tell us about a lower price" link for it to eventually happen. If you post the book on Wattpad, Smashwords and Project Gutenberg that should be enough free versions available, so the real trick becomes how many people are clicking during step 8.

The 25 Cents eBook Version

In the case of price matching to something cheaper (eg. 25 cents) your goal is to make your book available in other locations for 25 cents (or whatever price you choose that is below 99 cents) so that Amazon is price matching a specific price of your choosing.


PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Your book will be free and easy to market to people.
  • Free samples are very easy to sell. They're free.
  • It is much easier to get readers to start reading your books and later buying your other books.
  • It is possible Amazon will raise the price back up eventually, because their business model is to make money after all. But don't count on it.

Cons

  • It may take significant time to get Amazon to finally do the price matching. They don't always do it. Eg. If people are buying your book and paying money for it then they definitely won't do it.
  • It will usually be permanently free. The only way to get rid of it is to remove it from Amazon's listings by deactivating / unpublishing it.
  • If you only wanted to make your book temporarily free you would be better off using KDP Select program or BookBub instead.
  • If you are hoping to raise the price back up eventually, don't bother. You won't be able to.
  • You won't make any money off the free sample.
  • If your goal is to get on the Kindle Free lists you will need to check back periodically to make sure the book is still free. It is possibly Amazon may raise the price back up if they think they can make money off of it.
  • Your books will often be competing with erotica ebooks which have been similarly promoted using the free ebooks business model.

There is push back from publishers on the concept of authors giving away free copies of their ebooks. It makes it more difficult for traditional publishers to make a profit when there are lots of free copies of books available.

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