Kindle: Desperately Seeking Solutions

As regular readers will know, we have a slight difficulty with our free books being distributed on the Kindle platform by people who download them from our site. In some cases they are breaking the terms of the licence agreement, in some cases, they erroneously name me as the author and in others they are not doing anything wrong per se, except giving the end user a poor reading experience.

Our free books section was setup long before the Kindle became a reality, so the PDF books are not formatted with Kindle in mind. That’s the main problem we have been thinking about and I came up with a simple solution i.e. format all our free books for the Kindle and make them available as free downloads from the Kindle site. Unfortunately, Amazon/Kindle won’t allow me to make my books available for free download.

It seems that larger publishers are allowed to publish their books setting their purchase price as $0 on the Kindle, but the minimum price I am allowed to charge is $0.99. If you live in a country, such as the UK, where purchase tax applies, then that also gets added. This makes the purchase price of a $0.99 book actually $1.41 in the UK once VAT has been added.

Now, at present, our free books are being sold for as much as $19 by some people at the Kindle site. This is clearly not a good deal for the user and Amazon/Kindle do not seem to want to work with me to resolve the problem. So the only solution I can think of is to reformat all the free books for the Kindle and then upload them at the minimum price i.e. $0.99.

There is just one problem with this approach. The books are still available for free at our main site. I don’t want to start charging (at our main site) for books we have always given away for free. So I think I need to find a way of including something extra with the Kindle books in order to differentiate them in some way, and this is where I am slightly stumped for the moment.

Here’s a couple of things I am considering:

  • Provide Resale Rights in the Kindle Versions Only
  • Provide a Link to a Kindle-Only Members Area With Extra Goodies

The problem is that I need to be careful with the extra(s) because granting rights in the Kindle books could end up making the situation even worse rather than better, so I am still working on this problem and don’t yet have an ideal solution.

If you have any suggestions regarding this matter, I would be more than happy to receive them. Please do leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “Kindle: Desperately Seeking Solutions

  1. Will Edwards

    Yes Judith. Your book is one of very few exceptions at our site. Hopefully the arrangement brings you visitors, but certainly, the future of that book is entirely in your hands.

    Will 🙂

  2. Delton

    If you didn’t give or sell the rights to your free books it is illegal for Amazon to sell them on their site. Notify them that they are selling copyrighted products illegally. They should refrain from letting sellers to post them for sell.

    Maybe you could insert on the first page of the books (Get a refund and click here to get this book free along with several more! Of course that wouldn’t stop those that already have a copy from selling it..

  3. BJ

    Hi, as regards Kindle… I’m not sure there is a problem as regards format. I use my Kindle’s own email address & send any pdfs that I want to read on the Kindle to it’s email address with the word “Convert” in the subject line & Amazon kindly put it into Kindle format & then send it to my Kindle. Works pretty well most of the time. Hope that helps? BJ

  4. Scott

    I agree with Isobel, put in big bold letters that the book is free in PDF from at your site. That should keep them from appearing on Kindle.

    At least about the second or third refund request should fix that.

    I am surprised Amazon offered no help, they claim to be wanting to “clean up” the PLR and Public domain copies.

    Of course I have no idea how they determine original as opposed to PLR. I had a short book I wrote on kindle for about a year. A few nare-do -wells stole the book and put their name on it and posted it to Kindle. Amazon notified me that I was in violation of their originality rule and took my version of my book off the shelf.
    Ding bats didn’t even look at the date I posted as opposed to the others.

    Oh well…for your dilema I would just put the fact the book is a free book in maybe several locations in the document.


  5. Isobel

    I don’t think you need to offer anything extra for the Kindle versions. You can say on your Amazon sales page that the books are available in non-Kindle formatted PDFs for free (I don’t know if you can link to your site, but if you can I would), but under Amazon’s TOS you have to charge a minimum of $0.99 to list them for the Kindle.

    You can also within the Kindle book itself link to you main website so people know they have a choice.

    The advantage to the reader is that they don’t have to pay the inflated price that other people are charging for Kindle versions so the other sellers will have to withdraw theirs, and the free version is still available as an option.

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