Kobo still struggling to correct ebook pricing problems. Updated.

Update, Jan. 2012:  Borders in Australia now has correct prices for my ebooks. That makes both Borders in Australia and Kobo displaying proper prices.

Back on February 20th I noticed online retailer, Borders in Australia, had priced my ebooks at $4.95 when the actual price should have been $0.99. I contacted Smashwords. A while later the price was reduced to $3.95, where is has remained up to this date. I contacted Smashwords.

Kobo supplies ebooks to Borders in Australia, so getting no reply from Smashwords for 90 days I contacted their Australian retailer directly.

I contacted Borders in Australia about the retail pricing error of my ebooks and got a prompt reply the next day.

Borders AU said in their email to me: “I would ask that you or your publisher take this matter up with Thorpe Bowker (http://www.thorpe.com.au/) as information on our website is supplied to us by a third-party and as such we do not have the ability to edit or amend as appropriate the product information shown on our website.” By ‘third-party’ they probably mean Kobo, but I’m not sure.

I contacted Thorpe Bowker, and they responded within minutes: “Thanks for your email.  We don’t actually supply Borders with their e-book data.  However, we will forward your email to the correct person at Borders and ask them to correct the information.”

Within a few minutes I received an email from redgroupretail.com: “Your enquiry was forwarded to me regarding the sell price on your ebooks on our website. We receive our feed of digital content from Kobo Books in Canada but the sell prices are generated by an algorithm that takes into account cost price, the variation of currency exchange, DRM, and service fees. This can make the final sell price higher or lower than the RRP. Due to the nature of the digital feeds and the pricing structure, we are unable to manually change individual pricing on ebooks.

I hope this information is useful and thank you for your enquiry.”

So I checked my current sales report on Smashwords.

Sales report from Smashwords indicates I’m receiving from Borders AU the royalty on the US$0.99 price, and not on the retail price listed on their website of $3.95. Or it might be $4.95 list at the time book was sold, but I’m not sure.

I might be misunderstanding Smashwords Terms of Service on Royalty payments, but the TOS states “Kobo is also 60% for books priced between $.99 and $12.99 for US and Canadian dollar-denominated sales. Sales in other currencies at Kobo are at 38% list.” My list price on Smashwords is US$0.99.

So if ‘list’ price in Smashwords TOS means the retail price on Kobo owned Borders Australia, shouldn’t the royalty on a $3.95 book (at 38% of list) be $1.50? Or does ‘list’ sometimes not mean ‘list’?

If ‘list means the price an author sets on Smashwords or some other ebook distributor, then what happens when an online retailer charges more than the ‘list’ price? Is there a dramatic discount at the checkout? I don’t know.

I know Kobo has been having some difficulties getting their digital systems working properly for pricing books, but their price of my ebooks has been higher for more than 90 days.

Authors may want to check their ebook pricing at Borders Australia.  And then check your sales report at Smashwords. You may also want to join the Smashwords Forum. It’s free.

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2 thoughts on “Kobo still struggling to correct ebook pricing problems. Updated.

  1. One of my books is free on Smashwords and every other site.
    On borders Australia it’s $3.99.
    Contacted Smashwords about this and they said it’s “currency conversion.”

    But any percentage or multiplier of 0 results in 0.
    Because its listed as free my guess is no one but Borders will see the profit. (If it sells that is)

    I feel the response from Smashwords a little disheartening. It seems like they’re not putting in the effort in responding or even propoerly reading the email.

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