Why Can’t I Set The Price To $0.00?

I really wanted to set the price of my short story to nothing. I want to give it away. It’s sold a few, but not a ton. And to be honest, $0.99 for 14 pages, while not a ripoff, does seem to be kind of silly.

So I went onto Kindle Direct Publishing and attempted to set my short story to $0.00. And, as it turns out, I can’t.

The minimum price I can set for ANYTHING I publish on Amazon is $0.99.

[scratches head]

I decided to do a little research as to how could go about rectifying this situation. After all, there are LOTS of books out there that are free. So there has to be a way, right?

Turns out the answer is “sort of”.

The first direction I steered in was toward Promotions. This is a way for you to alter the list price of your book for a period of time. It’s not forever, but it’s a start. To do this, first you have to make sure your book is set up for KDP Select. So I had to select that checkbox and re-publish the book. No big deal, It’s been out there long enough it didn’t warrant a second thorough vetting by Amazon. It was ready a few hours later.

Then I went in and set the price. I made it $0.00 for five days. Huzzah!

Six days later, once the promotion had expired, I went back into the set up another and drop the price again. It seemed like a ham-fisted way to manage prices, but what the hell. I can log in every five days, right?

Yeah. No.

Apparently, you can only run one promotion every 90 days. (Mental note: must read the fine print more often).

So what’s the answer?

If you search for this topic on Google, you’ll find a lot of people have the same question. And the answer is interesting. There IS a way to make your book exactly zero bucks, but it’s really very backward.

Apparently, in order to permanently drop the price of your book, you must (CAVEAT: I have not tested this myself) publish your book on another site, something like B&N for the nook or Smashwords, set it at $0.00 on these sites, then repeatedly pester Amazon that it’s for sale somewhere else for less than they are selling it. After Amazon performs some super secret review, they will then permanently set the price to zero.

Basically, they price-match.

See the following links for more info on the how-to:

Like I said above, I have not tested this approach. It’s almost more work than I care to put into lowering the price, but there you have it. Search for the topic, this is the answer you consistently see.

What a pain in the neck.

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