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When Amazon Reduces Your Print Book Prices Unexpectedly

When Amazon Reduces Your Print Book Prices Unexpectedly

screen shot of Amazon print price cut

Amazon print price cuts, what they mean, and how to make the most of them

On the ALLi Member Facebook forum, we're often asked: “Why has the Amazon print price changed from what I chose, how will it affect my royalties, and what should I do about it?”

In this post, ALLi's Author Advice Center Manager Debbie Young answers these questions, reassure you that you will not be out of pocket, and suggests constructive ways to make the most of this potential promotional opportunity should it happen to your self-published books.


As indie authors, it's down to us to set the prices for our books. 

We generally take great care to set what we think is right for our books, so that it:

  • matches market standards for the genre and page count
  • offers the readers value for money
  • earns us a reasonable margin

It's harder to make a substantial margin on print books than on ebooks, because there is a much higher production cost – print, paper and shipping, compared to the simple transmission of a digital file.

So if you know your margin per print book is, say $1, at a retail price of $9.99, and you are startled to find one day when casually checking over your Amazon author page one day that your retail price has been reduced to $8.99 without you having changed the price yourself, it's natural to wonder whose pocket will that $1 come from? Amazon's or your own? And if it's slashed by even more than your profit margin, will you make a loss?

Good news! Your royalty is based on the list price you set on your KDP Print page, not on the price at which Amazon chooses to sell it.

Why Amazon Reduces Print Book Prices

Usually, Amazon will change a book's price because:

  • its knowledge base indicates that you will sell more books at that price than the one you chose
  • the book is already doing well and it thinks it will sell even better with a discount

Of course, this is not an altruistic decision on Amazon's part: the more books you sell, the more money Amazon makes, and that it is priority. 

Occasionally another reason might kick in:

  • Amazon has a small number of a book in stock which isn't selling, and it wants to free up warehouse space

I've seen radical cuts with my Christmas-theme short stories once the festive season's over. By midsummer, a postcard-sized single short-story paperback usually priced £2.99 has been on sale at less than £1. My reaction? To order as many copies as they'll let me (the maximum last summer was 8 – maybe their entire stock), to handsell the following Christmas.

In this case, my royalty was greater than the price I paid for each book – so Amazon was literally paying me to have copies of my own book! 

screenshot of Amazon book listing showing print price cut

Amazon usually starts to reduce the print price of my December-themed book from January onward

Case Study of Series Pricing

Just as we might choose ourselves to offer the first in a series at a lower price, Amazon may do this for you – or reduce it further than you've done..

My first in series, for example, which I launched at £6.99 nearly two years ago, has never been listed at my chosen price. I put the price up this year to £7.99, and it's now selling for £6.75. I'm slightly embarrassed that this undercuts the lowest price I can sell it to bookstores via IngramSpark, as I don't want bricks-and-mortar stores to think that's my policy, but I'm stuck with it – although I can change my prices on my KDP Print dashboard, I can't override Amazon's reduction. And I would probably unwise to try – I accept they know better than I do what price structure will work best for my series.

screenshort of discounted first in series

Some views only show the final selling price rather than the discounted price

Interestingly, Amazon is also currently tweaking the prices of the rest of the books in the series. I set the list price for £8.99 for each, and it's currently charging £7.41 for books 2 and 4, and full price for books 3 and 5. There will presumably be some precise mathematics that made them arrive at this odd price point and specific combination, but mine is not to reason why, mine is just to collect the royalties.

How to Capitalise on Amazon Print Book Price Cuts

If you spot a price cut, it's worth shouting about it, because:

(a) it gives you a valid reason to talk about your book on social media – you're being helpful to readers by flagging up a discount, not just saying “Oi, buy my book!”

(b) the price cut might sway a waverer to make a purchase

But act fast, because while some price cuts seem to be almost permanent, others revert within days or even hours.

And you'll need to keep an eye on your author page to spot price cuts, because  Amazon doesn't give advance notice of temporary price cuts.

Print price cuts are not the same as when it signs you up to a Kindle Monthly Deal or Kindle Daily Deal, for which you are asked to agree set dates and terms in advance – and which you may, if you wish, turn down.

Three popular ways to capitalize on an Amazon print price discount are to:

  • announce the price cut on your FB Facebook page
  • tweet a link to the book's Amazon page
  • alert your mailing list

To avoid upsetting readers, it's worth including a comment to say “short-term offer” or “offer ends soon”, so they won't be disappointed if they click your link and find only the full price.

A price cut in your home territory, or the Amazon retail site in which you make the most sales, (which may or may not be the same), will not necessarily be replicated on all its stores.

Therefore when you alert your readers to special offers, specify which store sites are running it.  I generally add a friendly comment such as “This is Amazon's decision to make it UK only, not mine – so apologies to my non-UK friends”, or whatever is appropriate to the circumstances.

Your Reduced Book is in Good Company

If after reading the above you still feel uncomfortable about Amazon reducing your price, and wondering whether it makes you look like you're book's been reduced because nobody wants it, take heart: Amazon does this to its very bestselling books, such as a certain former First Lady's memoir currently retailing at around half price in my local Amazon store at least.

Bottom line: Amazon reduced your print book price? It's a compliment! Now, get on and tell the world!

PS  I've never heard of  Amazon increasing a book's price compared to the author's list price – but if that ever happens to you, we'd love to hear about it! 

OVER TO YOU Have you been able to capitalise on Amazon price reductions? We'd love to hear how you made the most of them.

#Indieauthors - worried about Amazon reducing the prices of your print books? We've got good news for you! @DebbieYoungBN explains what it means and how to make the most of it. Click To Tweet

From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive






This Post Has 32 Comments
  1. I published my book on 20th March called Start-up Checklist for Success The Essentials you need to Know and I put a price of Euros 14.99 on the paperback version of the book. I am an Irish author. When Irish people go to the Amazon website to purchase my book, they see the paperback version selling for 46 Pounds. Obviously, I can’t sell my book at this outrageous price, and it makes me look bad as well. I contacted KDP, and initially, they informed me they could not help me as it’s an Amazon issue. I responded to this email explaining that I contacted Amazon Customer Services to be informed that it is not their problem; it’s a KDP issue. They responded again twice, informing me it was a Brexit issue without giving me details. Instead of helping me, they send me links to common questions and answers that don’t relate to this issue. I would be grateful to know if anyone else is impacted this way and do they have an answer. I asked them to reduce the price, but I got no response to this. In effect, Amazon is damaging me as a first-time author. I am also very dissapointed and disheartened right now about this.

    1. Hi Noreen, I’m in the same(ish) boat. Amazon listed my new release book for $10AUD more than my listed price, and nobody is willing to take ownership of it. Like you, I was advised by KDP that it was all in Amazon’s court, and there’s nothing they can do about it. Did you have any luck after posting your comment? Sadly, I think I’m going to have to unpublish my book as there’s no way it will sell for $24AUD when other picture books are much cheaper.

  2. It was brought to my attention that my book price was lowered unbeknownst to me. I start to investigate, and I am glad that I found this forum for clarity. However, at my reading events I sell my copies at my listing price. So now I have to figure out an explanation so I don’t look greedy! Frustrating. And of course my next event is tmrw…

    1. Yes, this is a distressing problem and it will most likely be the last time I offer a book on Amazon. My book is a poetry memoir and I also sell it at events. They keep reducing the price and it is insulting to see it for such a low price. I get that poetry doesn’t sell well in the U.S. but this is just not right. It is not the royalties that worry me but my reputation.

      1. I have the same issue. (I published though Lulu, who sell on Amazon). One of my books is an illustrated poetry book which been reduced many times. I originally set the price at £12.00, (which was only making me £1 per book as the book has many colour prints)…but to find it on sale for £2.88!! Yes, I bought one, a bargain for me, but I don’t think it does one’s reputation much good when a book is pried that low. It’s de-valuing literature.

        (Another book, which seems to have been sent into global circulation by Lulu without me “approving” the book, has shot up in price. (This time fortunate, as I don’t actually want anyone to buy until it’s removed!) This whole “pricing thing” is very disturbing though.

  3. Amazon has been toying around with my published list prices lately (raising the price), first time in over 5 years. For an indie author, I sell a fair amount of paperbacks each month. At the price they have listed my books for, I will not sell any and those looking at my books will now think I am a cheesy author that has hiked up my prices far beyond what is expected or normal. I just had someone interested that I met and I am embarrassed that she will go on Amazon to find the ridiculous list price. Very frustrated and I need to spend some time and thought on locating alternatives to Amazon. Anyone have advice?

    1. J. Suthern Hicks,

      The very same thing happened to me. I set the price of my book on Amazon for $16.95 in 2014 and sold a fair amount at that price. I was shocked and embarrassed to find that they increased the price to $26.95 a few years ago. No one in their right mind will pay that amount for a 175 page paperback. I tried to get it changed back to the original price but couldn’t get any answers. I was wondering if you ever got this question answered. Any information would be much appreciated.

  4. Amazon has reduced my hardback edition to less than my cost to purchase direct from Ingram. needless to say I am purchasing all copies I can, however it is also priced less than what I can provide to my brick & mortar resellers so it has the potential to damage those relationships. The strange thing is I have seen No new royalties from Ingram, so am wondering if this is a “closeout” price amazon is setting or if it truly is my book gaining some momentum. I guess it remains to be seen.

  5. I have just listed a new book on Amazon, via IngramSpark. On Amazon.com they are selling it for a perfectly reasonable $9.99, but on Amazon.co.uk, it is on sale for £15.98, which for a 76-page book (however good!) is outrageous. What can I do about this? I thought Amazon was supposed to be a low-price seller!

    1. Suddenly it’s come down to £8.18 … with Amazon UK now offering it for £5.99 … go figure! All solved then, unless and until it goes back up again!

  6. Hi Debbie,

    Perhaps you know the answer to this one. I published my print book through KDP only 4 days ago. I just checked the listing and it is nearly $6 more than my listing price. I spoke with them on the phone, and the representative confidently told me why KDP will choose to raise the price.

    1. Amazon sees that the book is selling well and they elect to offer a discount to incentivize more sales. (They raised the price, so I advised the CS Rep that this does not apply to my situation. They then said, less confidently that KDP may have seen my book is doing well, and that it is underpriced. I have had zero print book sales, so that one doesn’t make sense to me.

    2. The ebook is doing great on Kindle. (I have had a few ebook sales, but they didn’t change the ebook price. I advised the CS Rep of this, and their response was that KDP may have raised the print book price to increase sales to match those of the ebook. Raising the price to increase sales seems counter-productive to me)

    3. KDP raised the price to match 3rd Party Resellers on KDP. (I have been very careful. I am using 1 aggregator, but I specifically informed them I am already on KDP, and not to list there, and they aren’t.)

    The phone call ended without me having received a clear answer to my most important question…

    If the print book sells, is my KDP royalty going to be based on my own set list price of $11.99, or the price they set at $17.53? I did ask the agent, but the response was “canned” and they really couldn’t tell me.

    Bottom line is, if my royalty is based on the $11.99, I’m just going to raise my own list price to $17.53, and wait to see what the response from KDP is.

    * If you know the answer on my royalties, I’d be very appreciative.

    1. The same thing has been happening to me lately. For an indie author, I sell a fair amount of paperbacks each month. At the price they have listed my books for, I will not sell any and those looking at my books will now think I am a cheesy author that has hiked up my prices far beyond what is expected or normal. I just had someone interested that I met and I am embarrassed that she will go on Amazon ands see the ridiculous list price. Very frustrated and I need to spend some time and thought on finding alternatives to Amazon. Anyone have advice?

    2. What happened when you increased your price to match Amazon’s? We are contemplating doing the same thing with my wife’s book End Time Machine.

      If you have time to give any insight it would be appreciated.

      Thank you,
      Reed Nelson

  7. Pretty frustrated right now…I listed my children’s book for $11.00 and Amazon is selling it for $6.08, a 45% strikethrough. I understand I will still get the royalty, but I am annoyed I can’t control my own book’s pricing.

    1. Hi Phillip, you can’t control your pricing anywhere. RRP stands for recommended retail price; stores, including Amazon, can charge what they want to meet their own needs. They could charge double if it somehow suited them. It’s why bookstores have stickers with £1 off etc, it’s at their own discretion.

  8. Hello,

    I was recently looking for KDP Low Content publishing resources and came across your article, it was very helpful.

    I’ve developed a FREE online mobile-friendly Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) print cost and royalty calculator that might be helpful for your readers. It would be great if you linked to it from your article:


    1. Hi Brendon,

      That sounds like a highly useful tool. I wanted to give it a try, but I see that the site does not use an SSL certificate.

  9. My children’s book, No Karate in the Potty, went on a 7% sale recently on Amazon. Thanks for this post which clarified some questions I had on Amazon’s pricing.

  10. I noticed that my book (both ebook and p/back) was reduced. The p/b was selling for less than the ebook for a while!
    I decided to go and buy all I could but the price had gone up to nearly twice my selected price. (And yes, it is supplied by Amazon, not a third party) I emailed them to ask for an explanation but of course, received no reply. Do they ever reply to authors’ emails?

    1. Never. Maybe some other user will pontificate on their behalf, but no actual employee of Amazon ever replies to authors.

  11. I just released my book “Pick Your Poison Confidence” a self-help book using your positive and negative emotions to build confidence. It was just released on Amazon a week ago and I noticed today they reduced it for a 10% savings to customers. I was obviously not happy since it felt like Amazon wasn’t giving it time to get noticed yet, but after reading your article I felt a little better. Thank you.

  12. What does it mean when amazon raises the price of your book? My daughter wrote a book and listed it at 13.99 after one week amazon raised it to over 20.

      1. Not necessarily. Amazon has been randomly raising prices of my books lately. The list price is not from a third party seller. I’ve been selling books on Amazon for years and this is the first time they have done it. It’s very frustrating.

  13. Hi,
    I have had three paperback books cut in price..
    These have been reduced to between $2.25 and $3.71 which are FAR below the $14.99 original price.
    I have contacted Ingramspark and Amazon, yet each one says its the other who is doing this.
    There are some terrible books out that never sell, yet this has not happened to them.

  14. Thanks for the info, I am a writer and I am going to publish my book in the future on Amazon. I write reviews on literary works and their short content, I think this book will be very useful for students. Here is my project – Short Summaries Base.

  15. OH dear, not sure about this anymore. Amazon has reduced my paperback FIVE times in one week. It is now priced at £2.49, whereas my royalty payment for each sale is set at £2.57. How’s that going to work. Will Amazon really pay 8p every time someone purchases a copy? No idea.

    If only I had a credit card and still lived in the UK, I could buy my own books, become a best seller, then get all what I paid back in royalties. Grrr.

    1. Your royalties cannot remain the same when they lower the price, because your royalties are a % of the sale.

  16. My paperback Playing Out: Swings and Roundabouts has been reduced, after reading this I feel like SHOUTING about it. Actually forget, feel like, I’ll post LOUDLY on Twitter and Facebook.

  17. Thank you for this information, even though I’m not self-published this was useful. At first, I thought they reduced it, because it wasn’t selling well. Some other websites said, if it reached a certain ranking you were not selling any books. I was disappointed, because my marketing “tools” are limited and I was not sure how to promote it more. I am expecting my first, royalty statement, next month.

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