Why I won’t be adding my print anthology to Kindle Matchbook

A few months ago, Amazon launched a new scheme whereby you could get the kindle version of a book that you’d previously bought a print copy of for free or at a reduced rate. Terrific idea. I would LOVE to get cheaper kindle versions of, e.g. my Heyers. Sadly I can’t, for various reasons to do with the restrictions of the scheme. As an author who self-publishes through Kindle, I was invited to sign my books up to the scheme. At the time, the only self-published print edition I had was for Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse and I really only did it for a couple of non-ereading friends who were keen to buy copies. So I didn’t bother.

I’ve just finished formatting and uploading the print anthology of Reckless Runaway at the Racecourse, The Tycoon’s Convenient Wife and Flirting with the Camera. This is a book I’d actually like to sell some copies of and make some money on. Obviously all those books are available in kindle format and it would be trivial to make a kindle anthology of them to enter into the matchbook programme alongside the print anthology. But I’m afraid I won’t be doing that and here’s why.

I can’t afford to.

Let me explain. At the moment, those books are all on sale for £1.93.* I make 70% on each sale (Mostly. Some regions only pay a 30% royalty.). So that’s £1.35. If a reader buys all three, that’s £4.05. Even if I did a digital bundle for, say, £4.50, I’d still make £3.15 for each sale.**

The print anthology is probably going to retail for £10.99. I’d hoped to bring it in under £10 but I don’t think I can do it. It will be 371 pages long, trade paperback sized. I feel like £10.99 isn’t excessive for a book of that length, but unfortunately print on demand books will always be more expensive than trade. If you buy that through Amazon (which you need to for the matchbook scheme), my share will be £0.45.

That means that in the matchbook scheme, I would make 45p for the print book and be throwing in as a freebie a book that would normally make me at least £3.15. Or I could set the digital matchbook at £1.93, so the total take home for me: £1.80. Whichever way you look at it, that just doesn’t add up.

I do understand why, as a reader, the scheme is very appealing. Ebooks feel like they ought to cost less, and indeed, often they do. It makes sense to allow print and digital bundling at a lower price. But I can’t make it work for me the way that it has been set up.

*It’s $2.99. But I’m going to do this in sterling because I’ve been using Lulu.co.uk for the print version.

** This is coming, but I’m not sure exactly when.