Saturday, August 23, 2008

Q&A a la Ann Landers: Amazon's Mysterious Disappearing Books


Bruce Henrickson asks My novel, After the Floods, was available at both Amazon and Barnes& it has been dropped from both. What do you suppose has happened and what can I do about it?


Amazon has been not-so-quietly refusing to sell books that are published by POD presses other than those published by their own BookSurge. However, Amazon isn't aren't removing those renegade books from their site. Amazon is offering POD-published books from other companies through second-part booksellers or through their used book program. So that probably isn't what has happened to your book.

Perhaps your book is not POD published. Keeping your book prominently exposed on Amazon should be your publisher's job. Approach him or her first to see what's up. I sure wouldn't let them brush off my concerns lightly.

If you don't get satisfaction from your publisher or if your book is POD-published by someone other than BookSurge, become an Advantage member of Amazon on your own. Use the link you find on the home page of the Amazon site. Explore until you find the advantage program that suites your needs. You'll only have your own book(s) to worry about so you should choose a lower level program. Once a member, you can put your book on Amazon on your own.

Having your books on Amazon is more important than most new authors realize. Whatever Amazon does, other online stores follow suit. Online stores from Fat Brain to Harvard bookstore borrow listings from Amazon. Once a book is up on Amazon, it can magically appear on many other sites. Further, Amazon is one of the best places in all of bookdom for your book to be seen and considered for purchase. Someone once (famously) said, "It's the economy, stupid." Well, when it comes to selling books, it's the sheer number of eyeballs that see your book or hear about it.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are and, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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