What’s up with Amazon?

The Human Centered Brand author Nela Dunato

It’s been almost 6 years since I published The Human Centered Brand

I sell the ebook through Gumroad, and I used Ingram Lightning Source as my paperback printer and distributor. (Lightning Source is a service similar to IngramSpark, but IS wasn’t available to Croatian customers at the time.) I didn’t want to use Amazon KDP because back then Croatia didn’t have a tax treaty with United States, so I would have lost a lot of money paying double taxes.

During the first few years, it’s mostly been a smooth ride. My paperback book was available through every reputable online bookstore that carried the Ingram catalogue.

In addition to Amazon.com and its localized variants, my book was also available on Barnes and Noble, Blackwell’s, and The Book Depository. The latter was popular with international buyers because it offered worldwide free shipping. (It was my preferred bookstore as well.)

And then the problems started.

Amazon acquired The Book Depository, and then they shut it down.

Outside of the UK and US there were very few alternatives to Amazon. In most countries, buying from the nearest Amazon store was literally the only option to avoid expensive shipping and import duties.

Amazon doesn’t want to play ball with Ingram anymore.

In the past few years I noticed weird things happening with my book listings on Amazon, usually after a prospective book buyer emailed me with concerns.

  • My book was supposedly “out of stock”, although books printed on demand are literally always available and shipped within 48 hours.
  • Shipping times were anywhere from “2 months” to “7 months” which is again completely untrue.
  • The book was listed at a significantly higher price from my recommended retail price of €22 EUR or $34 CAD.

Whenever I noticed it, I contacted Ingram LS and they contacted Amazon, and usually the shipping times would be resolved in a few days.

But then it got worse.

About a month ago I noticed that all non-US Amazon stores either had weird shipping times, or didn’t stock the book at all. Ingram LS representative wasn’t able to get it resolved after repeated requests. Amazon simply isn’t budging.

Amazon is “punishing” Ingram titles to force authors to use KDP, and Ingram doesn’t want to rock the boat because Amazon is their biggest sales channel. This issue is well documented by other authors: IngramSpark and Amazon KDP Print Problems for Indie Authors.

After not getting anywhere with Ingram, I decided to republish the book on Amazon KDP.

I don’t love giving Amazon any more money than I have to, but I currently don’t see another viable option to make my book available for buyers outside of US, UK and Croatia. There are no other bookstores that carry my book in Canada, Australia, Italy, etc. In other countries like Germany, Spain, Netherlands, and Sweden other stores list the book at €30 EUR or more, which is absurd and I don’t benefit at all from that increased price.

As a small indie author whose primary career is graphic design, not writing or publishing, I’m trying to make the best of what I can in this situation. I honestly don’t know yet what I will do with my future books.

I’m thankful to every book reader, regardless of where you’ve purchased the book.

Publishing this book was a long-time dream come true.

I’m currently working on my second book, so I’m going through this tender and challenging process again. Knowing that I was able to do it once gives me hope that this next book will also be able to get into the hands of readers that need it.

Thank you for your support, it truly means a lot to me.

— Nela

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