Please note that the Amazon problems described below affect numerous authors and publishers. You and we are not the only victims.
This morning, I received an email from an author asking why an Amazon reseller was able to sell his book at a fraction of the cost.
In this note, I’m also including answers to other common questions about Amazon’s tomfoolery and ongoing website problems, which confuse and anger readers, authors, and publishers alike.
“AMAZON HAS MY BOOK LISTED AT A RIDICULOUSLY LOW (OR HIGH) PRICE!”
Those reseller listings on Amazon.com are misleading at best; scams at worst.
Anyone with an Ingram account can list one of our/your books for sale on Amazon. In most cases, the book doesn’t yet exist, despite the listings saying “new and used” copies. Only if someone orders a copy from them will they then order a copy from our printer.
Those third-party seller listings are also rife with errors so, on occasion, when one has a low-ball price, it’s either a true used copy, or they have a severe database error. Later, when they realize their error (if someone orders a copy), they will either eat the loss (not likely) or they will tell the customer they can’t get the book from the supplier (a lie that hurts the publisher’s and the author’s reputations). Even Amazon does this on occasion, or they tell the customer they can’t get the book for a long period of time (also a lie). Once, Amazon sent me an email saying they couldn’t get the product I ordered from their supplier…but I’d already received the product from Amazon!
Some reseller listings show a book for sale at $50 to $100 or more. Those are laughable and we can’t believe Amazon still lets that garbage appear on their site as well. If Amazon is selling a book for $12.95 directly, why would anyone click to buy it for $100?
We wish Amazon didn’t allow this type of tomfoolery on their website but they do. They allow a lot of other garbage, too. Don’t even get me started on fake book reviews – positive AND negative!
“AMAZON SAYS 13 IN STOCK! WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN PAID FOR THOSE SALES?!”
Many of our books are now showing up as in stock at Amazon with a specific number of copies available. 2 copies, 13 copies, 19 copies, etc. We got suspicious because we couldn’t see that we’d been paid for those sales so, of course, we contacted Ingram, and asked for some reports on specific titles to see how many copies had recently been printed and sold to Amazon. Ingram confirmed that Amazon’s “in stock” numbers are not always correct. In fact, they can say a title is in stock when it isn’t. And, they can put a specific number of copies on the book page that are in stock…when those copies have never even been printed.
Now, please understand that we WANT them to say a title is in stock so readers won’t get frustrated and buy a different book. We are just pointing out that this is yet another example of Amazon’s numerous errors that fool readers, authors, and publishers alike.
Amazon does stock some of our titles, but not all. For some, they still order from our printer only when an Amazon customer places an order. Our printer then prints and ships the book directly to Amazon’s customer, using an Amazon.com return address label.
THERE ARE STILL “UNAVAILABLE” AND “OUT OF STOCK” ERRORS ON AMAZON’S SITE! IS YOUR BOOK AFFECTED?
We need ALL OF YOU to check your book page(s) on Amazon.com (search for the ISBN to find the actual book page because Amazon has some old, phantom book pages on their site with ridiculous list prices from an error they made long, long ago). So, again, search Amazon.com for your ISBN and let us know if your book is showing up as “out of stock” or “unavailable.” While you’re at it, also check Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk. If your book(s) are “unavailable” or “out of stock” on Amazon, let us know through your author account HERE. Put MARY in the subject line of your message as I have turned this lovely (yes, I’m dripping with sarcasm) and time-consuming task over to her. Contact Mary HERE.
If your book has recently had this problem, and if it was corrected, please continue to check Amazon each month or so to ensure they didn’t screw up your book page again. I imagine we’ll be dealing with Amazon’s book page errors until we’re all in our graves. If you have already contacted us about your book on Amazon, there is no need to recontact us. You’re on the list and Ingram has been notified.
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