KDP Books Unavailable To International Readers Amazon

A situation blew up at Amazon over the weekend which is ghosting most KDP ebooks (and many Amazon imprint titles) for international readers who use the US Kindle Store — which has also exposed a glaring security problem. Amazon appears to be unaware of either issue.

This issue — which is either a bug or a very badly bungled roll-out — is causing great confusion as its effects are only visible to those outside the USA, which might explain why Amazon has been so slow to address it, or even understand the problem, it seems.

The first reports of this issue were from a few weeks ago when Australian readers who use the US Kindle Store were unable to see a handful of new releases. It seems to have spread significantly since then. This weekend I noticed the issue myself for the first time. Buy buttons had disappeared from a couple of my ebooks and they were no longer appearing in Search results or on my Author Page. It was as if they had been ghosted. Read More…

Amazon and the Also Bought Apocalypse Amazon Marketing

A real horror story has been slowly building for the last year or so and I’m getting a lot of emails on the topic so it’s time to deal with this head-on: what the hell is going on with Also Boughts?

For those unaware, the strip of books right which are usually placed underneath your product description on Amazon, headlined with “Customers who bought this item also bought” are popularly known as “Also Boughts” and have become the subject of much attention lately, as our knowledge of their importance grows in tandem with Amazon’s seeming desire to muck about with them.

First their importance: if you have read Amazon Decoded you will already know just how critical Also Boughts are and can skip ahead. For the rest of you, Amazon’s system is always trying to determine what kind of products you personally are most likely to purchase, so that it can display more of those to you. One thing it looks at very closely is the connection between products. People who buy printers tend to buy ink, for example, and recommending a printer-buyer some ink to purchase will elicit a lot of clicks. Read More…

The Birth of the Kindle Amazon Writing

The 10th birthday of the Kindle was on Sunday, which has been met with all sorts of retrospectives. Getting less coverage is that it’s also the tenth anniversary of Amazon’s self-publishing platform. In this excerpt from the forthcoming third edition of Let’s Get Digital, I argue that the real revolution is something else again which is also ten years’ old this month: the Kindle Store itself, which didn’t just open up publishing by allowing anyone to sell their books, it also democratized which books get recommended. I’ll be posting in more detail about the launch, and the two books on marketing which will follow. Digital 3 won’t be available as a free update like last time, as that caused way too Read More…

Amazon Makes Life Easier For Authors of Historical & Literary Fiction Publishing

There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!). The first is demographics: romance and erotica readers were the first to switch to digital, followed by mystery and thriller fans, leading to the success stories of Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people Read More…

Amazon Makes Life Easier For Authors of Historical & Literary Fiction Publishing

There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!). The first is demographics: romance and erotica readers were the first to switch to digital, followed by mystery and thriller fans, leading to the success stories of Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people Read More…

Amazon Rakes In More Cash, And Spends It Wisely

Amazon announced its Q2 results yesterday, and the growth was stunning – net sales were up 51% on 2010, topping out at $9.91bn for the three month period ending June 30. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that “low prices, expanding selection, fast delivery and innovation are driving the fastest growth we’ve seen in over a decade.” He also noted that the Kindle 3G with Special Offers (priced at $139) quickly became their bestselling Kindle. As usual, no exact numbers were given. Those deep pockets just keep getting deeper. But what are they doing with the money? Despite this staggering growth, profits are down 8% on the same period last year. Why? Some of the details from Amazon’s press release Read More…

The Kindle Store: The New Slush Pile?

  We have spoken on this blog several times about what the future holds for agents in a world where publishers are disintermediated by the dominance of e-books and the marginalisation of bookstores. Some agents are responding to the fall in advances and the collapse of print by seeking alternative revenue streams: editing services, creative writing classes, and, worst of all, becoming publishers. However, it’s now becoming very clear that some agents have decided that the time spent dealing with the fire-hose of submissions would be better spent scouring the Amazon rankings for indie writers.