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  • jimclougherty

The Evils of Amazon

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

In the two months since I last updated this blog, a lot happened: I got married and Gold Fever finally released. It was a wonderful moment to hold the physical book in my hand, but soon after, the sobering reality that I need to sell this thing set in.

I reached out to friends and family through social media in the hopes that I could get some sales and reviews. When asked where they could buy, my first response was always Amazon. The way I had it figured, they were the biggest game in town, and all self-published author success stories I'd heard of started there. I had hoped to get a lot of reviews and then get featured, but of course, in the week since the release, that didn't happen. Instead, Amazon took down my listing.

You see, I didn't publish through Amazon's KDP or Creatspace. I committed the unforgiveable crime of using Ingramspark. There were two reasons for this:

1. They allow you to make hard cover copies of your books. None of amazon's programs allow that.

2. Their distribution is widespread: My book would be anywhere from Barnes and Noble to Amazon, to ios or Android. Everywhere.

At first, everything was fine except the fact that my ebook and paperback versions on Amazon were separate. I signed up with them to claim my book so I could combine the pages. They told me that they would have to confirm my identity. It took them eight days to take care of that. During this time, the biggest problem of all popped up: Amazon took my prime listing down, and made a third party seller the primary listing. This third party seller marked the price up by $3.00.

It was a sweet feeling to hold my own book for the first time.

My prime listing could still be found under "Other options", but to me this was unacceptable, so I reached out to their customer service. After waiting the day for a response, I got an email telling me that this happened because I wasn't "In-demand" enough... they gave me 1 week to be "In-demand". I'm not sure how to become in-demand when they've taken down my listing!

I wasn't happy with the answer, so I reached out to their customer service again. I waited another day for a response: This time they blamed Ingramspark, saying they had no control over the listing (Their own listing!) and that it could only be restored through them.

I then find out that if you go to my prime listing and try to order through that, it says the book will take 1-2 months to arrive. This is 100% false, because Ingramspark is print on demand. They get the order, print it, and send it out themselves. This usually takes a week at the most.

After doing google searches, I found many examples of Amazon doing this to self-published authors who used Ingramspark. I know they're BS'ing me by saying it's Ingramspark's fault because it's their own website that is causing the problem.

For now, I'm telling people to order it through Barnes & Noble, who hasn't caused any issues so far. Funny, Amazon seems to be the only one doing this to me. Am I supposed to take that as a coincidence?

My best guess is that this is little more than shady business practice on the part of Amazon. They want a bigger cut of the pie, so they want me to publish through them directly. Like I already said, they're the biggest game in town, and they'll continue to feed me lies until I give in and go through them directly. Yet, knowing they would do something this gross makes me not want to do business with them at all. On the other hand, going direct through Amazon would also make me more money. I have the option to go through both Ingramspark and Amazon's CreateSpace, and that's what I may do in the end. My hesitation is more the fact that Amazon had no problem with throwing these shady business practices at me, and there was nothing I could do about it. Do I really want to work with a company that pulls this kind of stuff?

Something to think about anyway. Next time I'll be detailing work on my next book. :D

- Jim

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