Oh no. You woke up today and found out that your Kindle book was discounted automatically by Amazon. You set a specific price with a specific profit in mind, but now that’s all ruined, right? Not necessarily. In fact, many writers who experience an automatic discount make significantly more money than they were before. It’s not just because people love sales. It’s also because of Amazon’s policies. If your book was automatically discounted, then it’s time to rejoice, not fret.

The Power of Sales

Go to any forum or blog for writers that sell on Kindle, and you will see them rave about getting a discount. Why? Because people love saving money. The prospect of being able to buy something for just a few dollars less will make them much more willing to buy a new book. Not only that, but discounts are easier to find.

Amazon makes it very easy for people to find books on sale, much more so than finding books at regular price. This ensures that your books will get more exposure, which always leads to more sales.

You will make more money because you will make more sales, it’s just that simple. Many writers can get 20-100% more sales, so be thankful when your ebook gets discounted. It’s a time of prosperity that you may not see again.

Absorbing the Cost

Now, here’s what worries most people. If your book is on sale, then does your royalty per sale also go down? That seems to make sense, and it would significantly affect your profit margin. Let’s look at the following.

Let’s say that you are selling a book for $9.99 at 70% royalties (which is the normal royalty amount for most territories). That means that you get nearly $7 for each sale and the publisher (Amazon) keeps $3. That’s easy enough.

Following the same logic, let’s say that your book is discounted by 20%. This means that it would only sell for $8. Your profit would be $5.60 and Amazon would keep $2.40. However, that’s not the case.

Amazon knows that most writers set a specific price, so they don’t force you to decrease your profit. Instead, Amazon absorbs the difference.

Using the above example, you’ll still get $7 even though your book is selling for $8 instead of $10. The difference is that Amazon would make $1 instead of $3 per sale. This ensures that everyone is happy.

The same thing happens if you sell to bookstores through Amazon, or if you were even commercially published. However, if you used vanity publishing, then your publisher would take some of the cut, thus reducing your profit. This is just another reason why vanity publishing is terrible if you want to make money.

When Do I Get Discounts?

Now that you know just how good discounts are, you might be wondering when Amazon will give you a special price. The thing is: no one really knows. They seem to randomly happen, but there are times when they are more common.

Most people say that their books are discounted a few days or weeks after being added to the system. Amazon does this to help new books sell, and it’s an effective strategy for both you and Amazon. They might also discount your ebook if it’s about a relevant topic (like a Christmas book near Christmas time).

Other people say that Amazon will discount the book if it’s cheaper somewhere else. This is because Amazon loves being the cheapest. Some writers have tried to influence this by having their book be cheaper somewhere else, but this happens with varying success.

Don’t bother contacting Amazon and asking for a discount. The writers that have tried this are often ignored, and the messages they get are often very polite no’s. It’s not worth your time.

Overall, you can’t really control when your ebook receives a discount. It happens most often to new and popular books, but even then there is an element of randomness that you won’t be able to influence.


A good number of writers have panicked when their ebooks were discounted because they only saw the potential downsides. While making less of a profit would be bad, the reality is that you will make much more money during this time. Not only will more copies of the book be sold, but you keep the same amount of money per sale. Having a discount is the best thing for you because you’ll make much more money without losing a penny.

Filed under: kindle publishing

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