Today I received an email from Kindle Direct Publishing content investigation notifying me that Walmart is listing one of my titles below the list price I set. ($11.48 instead of $12.95. In addition, they are offering the book at a “rollback” price set the same as Amazon’s discount.) KDP informed me I need to adjust the list price in accordance with their price matching policy. The problem is, I don’t want Walmart to display an incorrect retail list price!
My expanded distribution is through Ingram Spark, where the list price is set the same as KDP. Obviously, I don’t want to start lowering my book’s price just because retailers want to engage in a price war. I’ve contacted IS, but they say they can do nothing. I’ve contacted Walmart, but so far have received no reply. I replied to KDP content investigation to state that I did not authorize Walmart to lower the list price. I asked for their help. In addition I queried the KDP community forum, but so far my question is still under review.
Of course, a lower list price means lower royalties. But the real problem is that if two or more sellers get into a price war and the author is required to adjust their selling price, then the author is no longer in control of pricing their books. Having that control is one of the benefits of being self-published.
Hopefully this is just a mistake, not a true price war, and Walmart will make the correction. If they refuse, then even if I lower my list price there’s nothing to stop them from lowering their’s again. That could be a problem, because there is a limit as to how low I can price my titles, based on print costs and seller’s discount.
At this point, all I can do is wait and see what happens.