#Amazonfail – Amazon’s got a serious issue displaying some authors’ books depending on locale.

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So, this Amazon bug first cropped up a few weeks ago. I saw a couple of fellow authors frantically asking if readers could see their Kindle books in Amazon’s store. I, and others, went and looked and yes, they were there. A couple of bloggers mentioned issues, but it really didn’t ping my radar.

Until the past couple of days, when it looks like not only is the issue far more widespread than first reported, but yes, it looks like it IS hitting at least some of my books, too. (Which I didn’t realize until I looked yesterday after some readers brought it to my attention.)

Long story short–depending on where you live in the world, some people use Amazon.com and some use other Amazon sites, like the Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.ca, etc. Until recently, if you lived in a section of the world that didn’t have its own dedicated Amazon site, you usually used the US, UK, or other site.

Herein is where the problem lies, and Amazon has been molasses-slow in responding, in part because their people haven’t been able to “see” or replicate the problem.

Some people can no longer see certain books in certain stores. For example, some people located in Australia can’t see books in the US store. They might show up, but be listed as “not for sale.” Or they might not show up at all.

More details below:

(Okay, so, I think the headline of the second one is a little alarmist, because I don’t honestly believe Amazon is doing this deliberately, or “removing” books from listings. I think it’s accidental, and they’re just clueless as to what’s going on, and slow to respond and investigate.)

It would appear, if current theories hold, that it’s a bungled roll-out of a feature trying to divert readers to the most applicable store to their region.

Here’s the issue — if you’re not in the US, and say, in the EU territories, there are different taxes and VAT and tarifs and all sorts of financial issues to deal with. Some countries don’t allow certain content. Etc. Some authors have rights held by different entities (like US rights versus UK rights, etc) and that means a book that might be for sale legally in one territory by one entity might be illegal to sell in that same territory by a different entity (where another publisher has the rights to sell it in a different territory). Amazon is probably trying to get customers sorted into buying by whatever store will cost THEM (Amazon) the least amount of headaches in terms of bookkeeping. So MY theory (and it’s just a theory) is that the law of unintended consequences hit and their roll-out broke something else.

Typical Amazon, they’re not telling us what/how/etc.

When I look at some of my self-pubbed books through the KDP back-end (which is how authors load books into the Kindle architecture) I can see that yes, some of them are not available in certain locales, even though I have worldwide rights for all territories enabled.

I have no idea how hard this is hitting my Tymber catalog published through Siren, because I can’t directly access those.

So. What do you do?

If you’re an author who self-pubs, go into KDP and look at the status of your books. Hit Bookshelf, and click where it says Live and look at the country/territory breakdown. If you see where it’s not available, start hammering tech support at Amazon.

The only way they’ll fix this clusterfuck is if the indie world comes down on them hard and starts putting pressure on them en masse to FIX the problem and gives them a TON of bad press about it. Start blogging, Tweeting, get your readers fired up about it. Readers also need to understand what’s going on so they realize they can also contact Amazon if they try to buy one of your books and find it’s “not available” even though it should be.

Also, this is yet another argument for NOT being locked into the KU structure and going wide. Because if your books are available elsewhere (say at Smashwords or wherever) your readers can still buy them even if Amazon has screwed things up.


Amazon has finally admitted there’s an issue and posted about it in the KDP Community Announcement board.

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#Amazonfail – Amazon’s got a serious issue displaying some authors’ books depending on locale.
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2 thoughts on “#Amazonfail – Amazon’s got a serious issue displaying some authors’ books depending on locale.

  • November 19, 2018 at 9:59 am

    One of my five titles is not available in the USA and UK. Three calls and KDP has done NOTHING to fix the problem. KDP is awful. I am contemplating ending Kindle Unlimited for the title and uploading it on another eBook platform.

    • November 19, 2018 at 11:11 am

      Sorry it’s hassling you, Linus. I decided on my self-pubbed books that I would not lock myself into the KU architecture for this very reason. While Amazon is my largest income source, I’m seeing a surprising amount of sales from Apple. (Which you can load to via D2D or Smashwords, if you don’t have a Mac or want to mess with getting an account there.)

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