Friday, 4 February 2011

Amazon Woes

We've had a running issue with Amazon now for some months, so we're posting our tale of woes in the hope that you'll think twice before putting any of your eggs in Amazon's basket.

Firstly, our books are available through any book shop, anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, Amazon have adopted a very aggresive purchasing strategy in order to buy their way into the online retail market, and they are probably now the most recognised brand as a result.

Amazon dictate discounts and don't actually tell you what discount they're taking until up to 90 days after a book is purchased. They demand bigger discounts than any other retailer, and that is how they were able to buy their way into the book market by undercutting the traditional retailers.

The problem we have is that Amazon tried to order a copy of The Pitching Bible and the order failed because the wholesaler sent it to wrong distributor. The wholesaler cancelled the order without letting either us or the customer know, and Amazon then market the book as unavailable, which is obviously not good for customer confidence.

We contacted Amazon and asked them to correct this information, and they replied that the book isn't available.

We replied that, as the publisher, we're fairly confident that the book IS available.

Amazon replied that the book isn't available.

This little cycle went on for some weeks. It seems that the first hurdle to get over with Amazon is getting them to look at the issue rather than fobbing you off with an automated reply.

The next step was that Amazon took the book off sale altogether! Where it had originally been listed as available to order with an unknown delivery time, now you couldn't even buy it at all! We added a marketplace listing so that we can at least offer customers a way of getting the book.

So, another email to Amazon. I said that Amazon's book data is out of date. They replied by saying that the wholesaler said the book is not available. This infuriated me, as I had also spoken to the wholesaler and they confirmed the book is indeed available.

I sent Amazon the data record from Nielsen who supply ordering data to book stores, which showed the title as available.

Amazon replied saying that they didn't know what my enquiry was about!!


I'm getting to the point where I'm going to drive to Slough and physically shake someone upside down by their ankles until they take their heads out of their backsides and actually look at the real time ordering data from Nielsen.

I don't expect this to be resolved anytime soon, so the moral is, please stay away from Amazon. They don't matter, they are a nightmare to deal with, they don't control the market and they don't need your business.

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