Amazon tribulations — Day 3. Are they over?

I wish I knew. I am exhausted, frustrated and more than a bit angry over this whole process. You know me. I have been one of Amazon’s biggest supporters, especially when it comes to indie authors. But this week has sorely tested that position. In case you have missed the trials and tribulations, you can catch up here and here.

But here is the short version. On April 9th, I uploaded the final file for Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3). I did my usual checks of my file before uploading it as well as checking the preview file. I missed one thing — I had inadvertently left the ASIN for Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2) on the copyright page. Whether that is what started the saga of woe or something else, I don’t know and doubt I will ever find out. Amazon says I uploaded the wrong file. My records say I didn’t. But the ultimate result is that everyone who pre-ordered the book wound up getting Duty instead of Honor. I received notice from Amazon of the problem and that they had removed the book from sale bright and early Monday morning. Within half an hour of seeing the email — and half an hour or receiving it — I uploaded a new file, once I knew had the right data and content. It then took somewhere between 18 – 24 hours for the new file to become available. Except it wasn’t, not for those who had pre-ordered it. They had to call or email Amazon and ask them to push the new version through for them.

What really concerns me comes down to two simple things: the first is the inability to get any solid answer out of KDP tech support about why the snafu happened in the first place and why the product page kept switching between having the book available for purchase yesterday and then saying the book was not available. The second is the fact that you simply cannot talk to a tech support person after 9pm CST. Related to these two is the fact that this snafu has resulted in more returns than any book I’ve written to date as well as a handful of one-star reviews complaining about getting the wrong book. Both of which impact my bottom line, my author ranking and my ability to use certain marketing venues for the book.

Today, Amazon is supposed to call me back. I hope they do but I am not holding my breath. If the call doesn’t come in during the time frame I was given, I won’t hesitate to call them and to escalate to the next level up.

In the meantime, at least for the moment, the product page does appear to be working  If you have tried downloading the book earlier and ran into problem, please try again. If you have downloaded the book and discovered it was actually Duty, please go to the support page and ask Amazon to call you. Explain that you have the previous version and ask them to push through the new version. If you continue having problems, please let me know.

With all this going on, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make this right to those of you who have been impacted by all this. What I think I’m going to do is write a new story — whether a short story or novella — in the Honor and Duty universe. I will figure out how to get it to those who have weathered this storm with me so you get a copy before it goes on sale. More on that as the plan details are firmed up.

Finally, if you have read Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3), I’d appreciate it if you would leave a review. Thanks!

9 Comments

  1. Amanda:

    I finally was able to send Amazon Customer Service an email regarding this.

    As of 12:12pm, 4-20-16 MST the amazon page for the book says it is “Not available for purchase” “item under review”. I still can’t read the new book. I have deleted it from my account 3 times and re-ordered. Every single time I have gotten the bad copy.

    I absolutely am NOT blaming you for any of this! However, my opinion of Amazon’s customer support and authorial services is not QUITE in free fall….but it is getting closer by the day.

    I sincerely hope that no other readers will be so discourteous as to give you a bad review over this incident, as it could happen to anyone.

    Sincerely,

    Mark

  2. Amanda:

    Here is the reply I got from Amazon:

    Hello Mark,

    Thanks for writing to us with your concern.

    I understand that you are facing problem with the content of the book “Honor from Ashes”. I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused.

    I’d like to inform you that this is a known issue and many of our customers reported this and we removed it from the website.

    We are reviewing with publisher about this issue. Once the issue is solved we will publish it in the amazon website.

    For any further assistance, please use the link below:

    http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

    Thanks for understanding and patience. We look forward to see you soon.

    We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

    Best regards,
    Navya

    1. I do so love the canned responses. This is one of the issues I have been talking with Amazon about — up to and including emailing Bezos (and this is what finally got things rolling). I’ll do a final post on everything once I have heard back again from Amazon and they have answered my questions. But one of the things I talked with them about tonight was the lack of communication from them to myself and the length of time it took for their people to send out notice about the new file and how the canned notices put the blame on me and not necessarily where it belongs (at least for the last two and a half days).

  3. Hi Amanda – I’m sorry you have had such a ghastly experience over the last few days. I have been one of those affected by the snafu. I pre-ordered my copy of Honor From Ashes ‘cos I love these books. When I received my copy it was book 2 mascarading as book 3 – I thought I was dreaming. I contacted kindle support and they re-imbursed me and told me to try again. Some 24hrs later, I was checking the reviews of Honor From Ashes and somebody kindly had written that the problem was sorted. I thought, oh good, finally I’ll be able to get my copy. Unfortunately, when I checked on my brand new copy – again – I encountered the same problem – book 3 cover, book 2 inside. I was just about going demented – I thought, will I ever get my copy of book 3? So it was back to kindle support for more help in resolving the issue. Finally, it got sorted out and I finally have my copy of book 3, yay 🙂 I wish you all the best and hopefully you won’t encounter the same problems in the future 😀

    1. Catherine, first of all, thanks for bearing with me on this. Second, if you don’t mind, I would appreciate it if you would answer a question or two. When you contacted Amazon about the mix-up, and they sent you the book the second time, when was that (approximately what time of what day?) Also, did you ever get an email from KDP saying there was a new version of the book and what you had needed to be updated? Thanks!

  4. Hey Amanda – it’s going to be a little awkward trying to figure out times as I live in New Zealand and our times, as you know are different – our day is your night and we are a few hours ahead of American times. As for the other question, Amazon did not notify me of the up-dated version. As I said, I pre-ordered book 3 and of course the content was book 2. I contacted Amazon and they reimbursed me and told me to try again. New Zealand times being what they are, I decided to give it approximately 24 hours before trying again. The next day, around our evening time, I decided to read the reviews that had been posted for book 3 – there were three if I remember correctly – and one of them contained the information that the problem had been resolved. Once I read that, I thought it would be safe to repurchase the book. However, when I received the book, once again I was getting book 2’s contents. I was upset and so contacted Amazon, went to bed for the night and checked my email the next morning. I had received an email from them over night and they suggested I sync for new items and they would download the correct copy. Of course that worked and happily I now have book 3 🙂 Hope that helps – I don’t know what went wrong and I’m sorry you have had this problem. I want you know, that as far as I’m concerned, stuff happens and when I read book 3 (which is next up on my reading list) I will be giving you a fair review and not one that is going to go on and on about the problems I had getting a hold of book 3 – that would just be unfair. As I said, stuff happens and some of it is out of our control 😀

    1. Thanks for the update and the info. It does help because it is more that I can tell Amazon. The thing that concerns me is that you aren’t the only one to tell me they basically said to return it and then try again later.

  5. Yeah – it basically sucks as I’m sure there would have been a few people who just didn’t bother trying to purchase the book again and that means a loss in profits for you 🙁 I don’t know why they didn’t suggest that all those who pre-ordered the book to just hold onto it until they had resolved the problem. Their solution for me to sync and check for new items seemed easier than going through the rigmarole of contacting them via email and then waiting for them to respond – I went through that process twice!

    1. I asked just that when I spoke with Amazon today on the follow-up conversation. There was no answer but they promised to look into it. Shrug.

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