Author Topic: KDP pre-order issue  (Read 1135 times)

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
KDP pre-order issue
« on: December 02, 2018, 04:29:51 AM »
So I had a KDP pre-order of a book for almost 90 days, accumulating over 500 pre-orders, German translation, on Amazon.de.

But, late in the pre-order, I raised the price from E3.99 to 4.99.

Everything looked fine until the live date, when the pre-order number suddenly dropped to 103, dropping by over 400.

264 were sold on release day, though. The 103 number hasn't changed.

My initial guess is that the Amazon system somehow queried the pre-order people and told them the price got raised (which would be a really bad thing, would feel to the customer like a bait-and-switch--I can't believe Amazon's system would intentionally do this).

I called KDP and they are puzzled. They initially claimed all these people must have decided to cancel, but that was simply not reasonable. 80% of the customers aren't going to suddenly cancel or have bad credit cards or bad accounts.

I pointed out that it's much more likely--almost certain, in fact--that this is an Amazon system issue, possibly related to raising the price. Raising the price is supposed to let the people who ordered at 3.99 get it at 3.99 and the ones who ordered at 4.99 get it at 4.99, seamlessly, but it looks very much as if the 3.99 pre-orders got mass-cancelled.

So unless my understanding is wrong, something went wrong in the system.

The KDP rep I spoke to (native English speaker, thank God) couldn't figure out what happened and is passing it to the team that handles pre-orders.

Anyone else had anything like this happen?



Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 
The following users thanked this post: idontknowyet

LilyBLily

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 03:15:06 PM »
That's horrible. Another nail in the coffin for pre-orders.
 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 01:05:26 AM »
So I got an answer back, an answer different from what I expected:

Hello,

My name is B******* R**** with KDP Customer Relations. I see that your pre-order was cancelled in DE marketplace due to the increase in the price of the book. If you increase the price during the pre-order period, all prior orders placed will be cancelled. We will notify customers who bought your book with the new price and provide details for them to buy the book again.

B******* R****
Customer Relations Specialist
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com

***

This is not the policy I expected--admittedly I was going on my apparently faulty memory of how the process worked, which I thought would give customers the books for the prices at which they individually ordered if the price was raised.

So, another lesson learned.

Seems like a stupid policy IMO--bad for the vendor, bad for the customer, bad for Amazon.

I can understand having a policy like that with physical goods that must be shipped, but not with digital goods that reside on Amazon servers.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

Bill Hiatt

  • Epic Novel unlocked
  • ****
  • Posts: 1225
  • Thanked: 488 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Tickling the imagination one book at a time
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 03:14:12 AM »
So I got an answer back, an answer different from what I expected:

Hello,

My name is B******* R**** with KDP Customer Relations. I see that your pre-order was cancelled in DE marketplace due to the increase in the price of the book. If you increase the price during the pre-order period, all prior orders placed will be cancelled. We will notify customers who bought your book with the new price and provide details for them to buy the book again.

B******* R****
Customer Relations Specialist
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com

***

This is not the policy I expected--admittedly I was going on my apparently faulty memory of how the process worked, which I thought would give customers the books for the prices at which they individually ordered if the price was raised.

So, another lesson learned.

Seems like a stupid policy IMO--bad for the vendor, bad for the customer, bad for Amazon.

I can understand having a policy like that with physical goods that must be shipped, but not with digital goods that reside on Amazon servers.
It does seem as if Amazon's policy should be what you thought it was. It would make for a much smoother process.

That said, I'm curious about what the rationale for changing a preorder price would be. If I preordered a book and then discovered that other people who preordered earlier got the book for less, I might feel irritated. Of course, a lot of people have a less expensive preorder and then raise the price on release day, but I think this is the first time I've heard of someone changing the preorder price in midstream. Since you have a lot more experience than I do, I figure you have a strategic reason for making the chance. That's why I'm curious.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

VanessaC

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 03:19:42 AM »
I've not changed a pre-order price as an indie, but I used to regularly pre-order trad books - because trad publishers can do mega long pre-orders, and it was the best way for me to remember to get the next book!  The prices used to fluctuate during pre-order all the time.  Seriously, all the time.  But Amazon's pre-order promise to the customer / reader was that you would get the book, when released, at the lowest price it had been during the pre-order period.

I haven't looked at the indie side of things, but I had naively assumed the indie pre-order would work the same as far as price was concerned - the trad "price promise" seems very sensible from a consumer point of view. 

Sorry this happened to you.
     

Genre: Fantasy
 

Becca Mills

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2018, 05:46:17 AM »
This rule seems to go against what Amazon tells customers here, which is not that their order will be canceled if a pre-ordered digital product's price goes up, but that they'll get the product for its lowest price point between the moment of pre-ordering and the moment of publication. That's for Amazon.com. Maybe .de has a different rule?
Recently Read ...


















 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2018, 06:35:24 AM »
This rule seems to go against what Amazon tells customers here, which is not that their order will be canceled if a pre-ordered digital product's price goes up, but that they'll get the product for its lowest price point between the moment of pre-ordering and the moment of publication. That's for Amazon.com. Maybe .de has a different rule?

Parsing this out carefully:

For Digital Games & Software Downloads, Kindle Books, and Amazon Music:
Whenever you pre-order digital content, the price we charge you will be the lowest price offered by Amazon.com between the time you placed your order and the time the content is released.

I knew this. This means if the price goes down, you get it.

But not that if the price goes up, yours gets cancelled. Which is deucedly odd.

Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 06:39:32 AM »
I've not changed a pre-order price as an indie, but I used to regularly pre-order trad books - because trad publishers can do mega long pre-orders, and it was the best way for me to remember to get the next book!  The prices used to fluctuate during pre-order all the time.  Seriously, all the time.  But Amazon's pre-order promise to the customer / reader was that you would get the book, when released, at the lowest price it had been during the pre-order period.

I haven't looked at the indie side of things, but I had naively assumed the indie pre-order would work the same as far as price was concerned - the trad "price promise" seems very sensible from a consumer point of view. 



Exactly.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I'd read a convincing explanation from someone who seemed authoritative, some time back on TOP, which is what I was mentally referencing.

***

As for the strategic reason, given that I thought there would be no systemic harm and the process would be systemically seamless, I wanted to see if the higher price was sustainable and what would its effect on sales be (which turned out to be very little), and so the price would remain the same on release day.

The risk of raising prices and having people get upset, except perhaps when something comes off free, is negligible--as long as there was no explicit promise. I never promised anyone a discounted pre-order.

Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

Becca Mills

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2018, 12:15:28 PM »
This rule seems to go against what Amazon tells customers here, which is not that their order will be canceled if a pre-ordered digital product's price goes up, but that they'll get the product for its lowest price point between the moment of pre-ordering and the moment of publication. That's for Amazon.com. Maybe .de has a different rule?

Parsing this out carefully:

For Digital Games & Software Downloads, Kindle Books, and Amazon Music:
Whenever you pre-order digital content, the price we charge you will be the lowest price offered by Amazon.com between the time you placed your order and the time the content is released.

I knew this. This means if the price goes down, you get it.

But not that if the price goes up, yours gets cancelled. Which is deucedly odd.

Yeah, that's exactly how I read it too. The folks who bought it for $3.99 should've gotten it for $3.99 upon publication, despite your having raised the price to $4.99 after they placed their orders. But if you had lowered the price to $2.99 instead of raising it, then everyone would've gotten it for $2.99. There's nothing in there about orders being cancelled.

Perhaps it's different on the .de site, but I suspect it's just another case of Amazon being constitutionally unable to make its rules clear. I mean, a cancellation policy really makes no sense. As a consumer, I don't want a publisher's decisions about pricing to scuttle a purchasing decision I've already made. If a book was offered at a lower price, and I nabbed it at that price, I darned well expect to get it at that price, eh?

ETA: I just pre-ordered something and was given this message:

Quote
Our Pre-order Price Guarantee covers one or more item(s) in this order. If the Amazon.com price decreases between the time you place your order and the end of the day of the release date, you'll receive the lowest price, either through a price adjustment in your unshipped order, or through a refund within 24-72 hours following the release date.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 02:48:15 PM by Becca Mills »
Recently Read ...


















 

TimothyEllis

  • Forum Owner
  • Administrator
  • Trilogy unlocked
  • ******
  • Posts: 2141
  • Thanked: 847 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Earth Galaxy somewhere, 2616
    • The Hunter Legacy Universe
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 07:56:10 PM »
You know what this sounds like to me? A programming bug, where the If...Then...Else, is never completed, or defaults out.

So the default is Cancel the Order.

If the price goes down,
Then give the reader the lower price.

No else, and the default is applied, because the condition is not met, so no change is made.

Alternatively.....

If the price goes down,
Then give the reader the lower price,
Else We dont know what to do here, or its too hard to program, or who cares?, so cancel the order.

Basically, it looks like sloppy programming where all the conditions which might happen, have not all been covered.

Or someone deliberately doesn't want to give a lower price if the price goes up.

Or IT decided it wasn't worth the hassle of coding it since they assumed no one would ever raise the price during a pre-order.



Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 

The Doctor

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2018, 10:30:52 PM »
Very timely, as I've just put up a pre-order on Amazon. Priced it at 3.99. Wasn't planning on making any price changes before it's published but I definitely won't now.

Sorry this happened to you, David.  :icon_sad:

 

She-la-te-da

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2018, 12:00:11 AM »
Maybe the process is different in Germany due to their laws? That's the only thing I can think of. I know European countries don't deal with Amazon the same way the US does, so maybe it's something they did to protect the customer from paying a higher price than earlier orders?
I write various flavors of speculative fiction. This is my main pen name.

 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2018, 04:45:04 AM »
The KDP Customer Relations supervisor said he's pass on my feedback to the appropriate team.

We shall see, but at least I tried.

On a separate note, the very same supervisor sent me someone else's email and ticket, which was a huge litany of vitriolic and sarcastic complaints and abuse from another author entirely (with a somewhat-similar name or pen name) about how KDP is screwing everything up for him. I replied telling the supervisor he was sending out confidential info to the wrong people and he should be more careful... and if I ever spoke to that author, I'd suggest that one gets more bees with honey instead of vinegar...
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2019, 04:38:55 AM »
So the resolution of this turned out to be, they finally got back to me and said that yes, if you raise the price, it will cancel all your pre-orders, even though that's not what the TOS actually says.

So don't do it, unless you desire that result.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 
The following users thanked this post: Denise

LD

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2019, 09:58:45 AM »
Yeah, it was my understanding too that the price they bought it at would be the price they pay, regardless if you raise it later. 
 

Jessica

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2019, 11:45:03 AM »
It's German Law. Your book is a German translation targeting specificially the German market which makes it price-bound.*
Also as costumer I would'nt be happy about to pay more for an item than expected/ agreed on. So to cancel my pre-order and informing me about the price change would be in my interests as costumer. In my opinion Amazon acted appropriate.

* Actually I looked up the German version of the help site about pre-order price guarantee. Amazon states there that the price guarantee only applies to books which are not price-bound.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 11:47:38 AM by JessicaJoan »
Avatar Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2019, 07:08:17 AM »
JJ, you have misunderstood.

I was not trying to raise the price for anyone who had already ordered the book.

I was trying to raise the current price for future purchasers..

However, doing so caused all past orders to be cancelled.

There was no reason at all for Amazon to do this. It's bad programming and bad policy.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

Becca Mills

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2019, 07:30:04 AM »
There was no reason at all for Amazon to do this. It's bad programming and bad policy.

Plus, as you said, it runs counter to Amazon's own explicitly stated policy. What a bummer. Totally infuriating.
Recently Read ...


















 

Jessica

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2019, 07:52:34 AM »
@David

Oh, actually that is the point. By changing the price you ended up with two groups of costumers with two different prices at the same time. So different people would pay different prices but that is the thing that's not allowed to happen when your book is price-bound.

What you could do is to have one price only for pre-orders. So when costumers want to have the lower price they would have to pre-order it. Once the book is published, it would sell with Price B (the higher one).
Avatar Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
 

Becca Mills

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2019, 11:40:24 AM »
What does "price-bound" mean, JessicaJoan?
Recently Read ...


















 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2019, 03:26:24 PM »
Yes, perhaps that's why it works differently between .com and .de.

Ain't international business fun?

Live and learn.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

David VanDyke

  • Medium Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 615
  • Thanked: 630 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Full-time hybrid author and curmudgeon
    • David VanDyke's Author Website
Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2019, 03:32:10 PM »
@David

Oh, actually that is the point.

No, you're moving the goalposts.

You said this:

Also as costumer I would'nt be happy about to pay more for an item than expected/ agreed on. So to cancel my pre-order and informing me about the price change would be in my interests as costumer. In my opinion Amazon acted appropriate.

That is where you missed the point. Nobody would ever have paid more for an item than expected/agreed on if it worked as it does on .com. To cancel their pre-order and inform them of the price change, would not be in their interest as consumers if the price went up. It would only in their best interest if the price went down.

In this case, people who ordered it at 3.99 lost their lower 3.99 price due apparently to German law. That is hardly in their best interest.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

I'm a lucky guy. I find the harder I work, the luckier I am.
 

Eclectic Dan

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2019, 03:42:16 AM »
Does this German law apply only to books?

Last year, I bought a software upgrade.  They had tiered pre-release pricing and there were no disclaimers about the pricing not being available in Europe.  (US-based software company but they sell worldwide.)

It was something like, if you order 90 days prior to release, you get a 15% discount.  60 days in advance was a 10% discount and 30 days in advance was a 5% discount.  So, the earlier you pre-ordered, the better price you received.
     
 

Becca Mills

Re: KDP pre-order issue
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2019, 04:09:00 AM »
Does this German law apply only to books?

Last year, I bought a software upgrade.  They had tiered pre-release pricing and there were no disclaimers about the pricing not being available in Europe.  (US-based software company but they sell worldwide.)

It was something like, if you order 90 days prior to release, you get a 15% discount.  60 days in advance was a 10% discount and 30 days in advance was a 5% discount.  So, the earlier you pre-ordered, the better price you received.

Amazon's stated rules seem set up to encourage that approach. What they *don't* seem to want is the reverse: putting up a pre-order at $9.99 to capture maximum profit from die-hard fans who'll buy immediately at any price, then reducing to $3.99 to convert a less enthusiastic tier of buyers. If you try to do that, everyone -- including the $9.99 purchasers -- will get it for $3.99.
Recently Read ...