Free isn’t always free at Amazon

Amazon is turning me into a prostitute by pimping my free goods. Sheesh.

I publish some of my ebooks on Amazon as well as through Smashwords. I was shocked to discover Amazon was selling my free ebooks in some countries.

Amazon has a “gotcha” when it comes to offering an ebook for free for their Kindle devices. But even though your retail price is free it still shows a price of 99 cents on your KDP author pages. This creates a ‘problem’.

An author can’t offer their work for less than 99 cents on Amazon KDP author pages – where prices for other countries are set – and Amazon takes that “price” and applies it to the other countries in which your work is sold.


Amazon treats some countries more favorably than others when it comes to Amazon’s sense of free.

My “Cookbook by Ted” has been free since I first published it on Smashwords in 2010. Unfortunately it wasn’t free on Amazon for the first couple of weeks, until the Amazon robot confirmed the book was indeed free at retailers like B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc.

I checked my Cookbook at Amazon US and Amazon sites in other countries. It turns out free isn’t always free. I’d hate to be Kindle users in those non-free countries who have probably been getting ripped off for years by Amazon.

Cookbook by Ted at Amazon dot com is free, as it is in France.

But it isn’t free in Germany or England.

Now I could be completely wrong about how Amazon figures its prices, and maybe the VAT applies somehow somewhere, but I checked “If I Had A Car” – another free ebook I publish.

While one free ebook (my cookbook) is actually free in France, another free ebook of mine (If I Had A Car) isn’t. Huh??? How come free isn’t always free with Amazon?

How come there are different types of free by Amazon? Even in the same country web site by Amazon.

I checked my Amazon sales for my free ebooks and it turns out I’ve actually sold some free ebooks in countries outside the US.

I’d happily allow Amazon to refund those sale to anyone and everyone who can get Amazon to refund the money on these free ebooks. Heck, I made them available for free with no intent to profit. After all, I’ve not received any monies for these free sales so refunding money to purchasers shouldn’t be a major hassle.

I wonder if the Amazon Kindle Select free ebook promotion days cross the pond and make the same ebook available for free in other countries when offered for free in the US?


By Ted

I'm a former member of the Radio Television News Directors Association and during the last 30 years I've written news stories, sports stories, stories for children, puzzles, and plays for puppets.

Many of my ebooks are color picture books for children, and include printable black and white pictures at the end of a story. Please visit my blog for the latest information on my ebooks, and any updates or changes or comments. Ted.

PS: Please help stop cruelty to animals and support your favorite humane society or organization.