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The Amazon Game: Are Books Disappearing from Amazon’s US Site?

Lately, indie authors have noticed something hinky with Amazon’s e-books. They seem to be disappearing from the Amazon US site.

When my novels fell victim to this crime, I tried to find them via my Bookshelf in KDP. Here’s what I found, using my novel Poison Pen as an example:

I’d never seen this “feature” before, but today I noticed that when you hover over “Live” on your KDP book, you get this:

PP_Availability

When you click on “See title availability details” you get this:

PP_AvailabilityReport

When you drill down into “View details” in the row pertaining to Amzon.com (notice the Status for it says “Limited availability”), you get this:

PP_USAvailability

Notice how in Canada it says “Unavailable”?

Scroll back up to the image with the Availability Report for Poison Pen. Notice how the row for Amazon.ca says “Live”? When I view the details on that, I see this:

PP_AmazonCAAvailability

It seems Amazon isn’t removing e-books and making them unavailable for purchase. They are mucking around with visibility depending on the country you’re in. This is causing frustration amongst authors who want to check their pages on countries they don’t reside in.

What’s scary for us non-US residents is the fear that users searching for books to read will no longer find these books in the search results. I’ve often searched in Amazon US for something and then clicked on the CA link to view it on the Canada site. Now that I understand (I think) what’s happening, I’ll do those searches on the Canadian site.

I’ve also noticed that direct links will get you the book’s page in the US even if it’s unavailable for you to purchase there.

While this new feature *cough* bug *cough* will take some getting used to, we’ll have to see how it shakes out and affects sales.

Amazon: unilaterally moving the goal posts for authors once again.

Chelton House Fail

Yesterday, we received a letter, return address, Costco.

Inside, the letterhead displayed “Chelton House.” I had no idea who that was, but as I read the letter, I learned that records indicated we’d purchased their product, Simply Natural Organic Pasta Sauce.

My first reaction was worry. Were they telling us of a recall? Tainted food?

After reading further, I discovered the problem was a price discrepancy. They’d over-charged us by eighty cents. To compensate, they had sent us a coupon for a hot dog and soft drink from any Costco Food Court in Canada until August 31, 2015.

So, just to be clear, they sent customers who buy organic products a coupon for a hot dog and soft drink.

Face palm.

There was another option available: return the product for a refund.

We’d bought the product between April 17 and June 11, 2015, according to their records, so it’s already been consumed. I guess that’s why they offered the coupon as well.

While I appreciate the goodwill gesture, the irony doesn’t escape me.