Perhaps you know this, because you’re an author that’s trying to get a book updated, a price changed, or even a title unpublished. It’s that last point that’s causing me so much hassle – getting my book unpublished.
I’m in the process of taking The Jongurian Mission off perma-free and putting it exclusively on Amazon. Actually, I’ve already done this…during the first week of March, Tuesday, March 10 actually. But then B&N took so long to remove the book that I got this email from Amazon, on Wednesday, March 18:
See, Smashwords can’t take me off B&N or any of those retailers, they can only request that I be taken off. After that it’s up to those retailers to get their act together and hit ‘unpublish.’
What goes into unpublishing an electronic book? You’d think that all you need to do is pull up a list, find the name, and hit delete – boom, problem solved! Unfortunately, it seems to be much more complex than this…and it takes time.
I thought I’d get to the bottom of this, considering Amazon is threatening to take away my lone borrow for the month on that formerly perma-free book. So I emailed Smashwords on that same Wednesday, March 18:
I'm having problems getting this book unpublished, thanks!
The Jongurian Mission (The Jongurian Trilogy Book 1) (ASIN: B00AVW4KWG) is available on:
Good Morning, Greg.
Thanks for writing in again and reporting this. Looks like B&N might be a little back-logged. I've set the 'take-down' request to ship again. If it's still up come Tuesday morning, please let me know (you can reply to me directly).
I don't understand why, in 2015, it takes weeks to remove a book from Barnes and Noble. Can you explain that to me? Many people travel around the world, a few times, faster than this agency is acting. Why is that, and why are you powerless in the face of it?
And what of Amazon? Their customer service gets worse and worse, and the names on my emails become more and more unpronounceable. Where are they sending me emails from? Probably best not to ask.
But then I get problems. And I get problems because the people I’m talking to seem to know less about Amazon publishing than I do. Take these emails about getting my book off perma-free that started on March 11:
But they didn’t, and I asked them why:
I wasn’t surprised by this – I’d had that whole email exchange pretty much to convince them that this would indeed happen!
We know Amazon doesn’t care about authors, and I have to ask…how long before Amazon treats its customers like its authors? How much of a market share would they need? Would they need to be profitable to do that? Have the blessing of Wall Street…a higher stock price?
Because I know from this email string that Amazon’s customer service with authors is shit, and that leads me to believe it’s only a matter of time before that disease spreads to other areas of the company. Hey, I saw terrible management firsthand last year with Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program, so why should I think other areas are different? After all, the company is expanding rapidly, and like an army rushing across the continent, they’ll get overextended. Perhaps other companies will come and cut a piece of the business off at that point.
But that’s all speculation. And hey, they did offer to let me call them. Nonetheless, right now I’ll do what most authors do, keep my head down and shut the hell up. Amazon gives me my 70% each month, and I don’t want to see that shaved down to 68% or 65%. Oh, it will be eventually, but why hasten its arrival?
Yes, I’m an Amazon author, and that means I’ll get in my place. After all, they run the show…as this perma-free incident makes clear.