Hello! Mr Giant, Can You Hear Me?

megaphone by J Scott via Mary Ann Clarke Scott Wana Creative Commons
Image courtesy J Scott via Mary Ann Clarke Scott – Wana Creative Commons – some rights reserved

This is what I’ve been feeling like this week

Hello! Mr Giant, Can You Hear Me?

It started when I was preparing a tweet. Yep, you can find me there too  @annfoweraker with random tweets about Cornwall, writing, my books, what I’m up to… etc. So, there I was preparing to re-tweet that I had noticed Amazon had discounted one of my novels: £9.50 down to £8.95 and I thought I had better check the offer was still there. Amazon makes or stops discounts as and when they feel like it, with no rhyme or reason I can discern, but as I get the same amount and Amazon are discounting out of the amount of money they make from retailing my book I like to let my readers know when offers are on, so I tweet them.

I quickly went into the page for the book and, lo and behold, the offer was still on… but now, though the actual reduction was the same 55p, Amazon were claiming it was a larger discount than previously. WEIRD!…. then I noticed they were claiming that the RRP was £9.71   of course the discount would look to be a higher percentage. I went to my other book pages on Amazon – all had the same problem but each one had a different RRP (all more than the correct £9.50) How could this be?

I didn’t tweet – even though there was still a reduction – the fact that there was an error in the quoted Recommended Retail Price, and therefore the percentage reduction Amazon was claiming they were making, seemed dishonest

I noticed that the one closest to being accurate was the one last added to Amazon. This novel was being offered at a 1% discount – down to £9.50… yes – down to the  actual RRP. What on earth was going on?

I worked out that this change had come about after my latest paperback was added to my lists. Now I am used to Amazon taking a few weeks to sort things out when a new book goes on. It seems (I queried this with my distributor the first time it happened) Amazon put books onto their US (.com) site first, the UK (.co.uk) site picks up the data and puts it on the UK site – but as if it was a book published in the US, giving delivery dates of weeks and translating the price from the US dollar price of the book – which was set as correct when the book was published.

Now, as we all know the dollar, sterling rate fluctuates. So a few weeks down the line the dollar RRP price converted to sterling gives an incorrect sterling RRP.

Usually after a couple of weeks this gets sorted out – the book appears as delivery 1 – 2 DAYS and the price is accurate. This time, however, somehow this glitch had not sorted itself out… and, instead, had infected my other novels. And, as the longer ago a book was published the more inaccurate the conversion will be, the earlier published books had larger discrepancies .

I do not know about you.. but if I bought a book at a discounted price (even of just 1%) and when the book turned up it’s face value was the same as I had paid I would be miffed. (if the discrepancy was more I’d feel proper cheesed off) Who would I blame?  It might be obvious to me to think it is Amazon – but then I deal with Amazon both ends, as it were. I am not just a customer, I also sell my ebooks through Amazon and my publisher distributes through Ingram to Amazon.  I know a little about how it works.

Who would you blame? The publisher? The author? Amazon?

I soon found that there was nothing I could do to point out the glitch to Amazon directly and get it rectified. Hello???

At the moment, after many emails to and fro to Ingram, and their ‘channel specialist’ to Amazon,  Amazon seem to have straightened out two out of the three books .. maybe by the time you read this they’ll all be ok.

Now, all that is left to sort out is how Amazon can say a book is ‘out of stock’ (as they also had for two of mine along with the false ‘discounts’) … when the book is a POD (Print On Demand) as in, you buy it, it is printed same day and posted to you… Ah, Mr Giant … can you hear me??

I really hope this gets sorted out soon as I’m on Radio Cornwall next Friday (7th) and the new Looe Lit Fest on the 15th November, both of which I hope will generate interest in my novels and, like it or not, Amazon is the go-to place for a huge number of book buyers nowadays.

Do you get frustrated when you are trying to deal with organisations so large there seems no proper way to get through to them?

Would you have though the publisher might be the one to blame for the misleading information on Amazon sale page for a book?

Do share your trials and tribulations with the GIANTS – you know I love to hear from you.


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