Wouldn't you know, just as soon as I decide not to obsess about things like sales and reviews, and only check in once a month to record my downloads, Amazon does something unexpected, unexplained, and unannounced. On March 9th it stopped discounting one of my books, The Bright Black Sea so I discovered it listed at its full $3.99 price instead of free.
Unlike Smashwords and the ebook stores it distributes to, I'm unable to list a book on Amazon priced at "Free". It must be $.99 or more. Amazon can, at its discretion, discount the price of a book to match prices with other ebook stores, something they have very kindly done for all my books, once I call this to their attention. (At least in the US – world wide they sell them at list price. Except when they don't. A Summer in Amber is free on Amazon UK, though the other two books are not. I have no idea how this all works.)
I don't know why they decided to stop price matching The Bright Black Sea. My preferred price is free, for many reasons, including my desire, as a new writer to reach a larger readership. But it is their right. They are in the business of selling books.
The question now is what should I do? I could contact Amazon again and point out that they're being undersold? Should I reduce my price back to $.99, and see what they do next? Or I should let things ride for a while and see what happens? Well, letting sleeping dogs lie is one of my guiding principles, so I'm just going to leave things as they are for now. When I see authors selling 50 page novellas for $4 or $5, I don't feel bad selling a 800+ page novel for $3.99.
It is unfortunate that some people may end up paying for a book (even at a bargain price) that they could download for free elsewhere. However, I promise that all my royalties from The Bright Black Sea will go into a mason jar. When it's full enough, I'll use that money to hire a professional proofreader. There's over $10 in it right now. However, since the proofreading bill for The Bright Black Sea would run between $6,500 and $9,800, it may take a while.