Amazon glitch – Writers and readers beware!

Readers and writers beware – there are some features of Amazon’s ebook system that could give you a major headache if something goes wrong.

This week I had a problem with the ebook file of Turn of the Tide. Bizarrely (I’m not sure how) some folk downloading it around last weekend got the cover, description and title heading of Turn of the Tide, but the text of A House Divided. One reader commented online that they were reading TotT and enjoying it, but the reasons they mentioned made me realise that it couldn’t be TotT they were reading.
Fortunately as it happens otherwise I wouldn’t have known there was a glitch.

Just so you know – Turn of the Tide has an historical note at the start referring to Mary Queen of Scots’ abdication in favour of her infant son James. If your version doesn’t have this historical note it isn’t the right file.

But don’t rush straight out to return it and buy the newly sorted file.

This is what happened when the reader who had alerted me to the problem tried to do exactly that. They returned the book, I contacted Amazon and was told that the problem had been sorted. That same reader then re-bought it and received the same (wrong) file for the second time.

I contacted Amazon again and below is their response. – There is a logic to it, but it makes solving a problem like this tricky.

Hello Margaret,

This is Anna from Kindle Direct Publishing.

I understand that your customer returned the book and now purchased it again. Please note that at this time, customers who bought your Kindle book aren’t able to download updates automatically. This also means that our system remembers what version a customer originally bought and when trying to buy it again delivers the same version. At the moment this is a current limitation of our system and our technical team is working on improving this process.

Since your customer already bought your book, there is one option for her to receive the updated copy in case if the updated copy has not pushed to her already. Please let her know that she can contact Kindle Department via this form and they are able to push the newest content to her Kindle Library:

I am sorry for the inconvenience this issue has caused!

She’s sorry? I am too!!!

Now here’s the thing. This will hopefully solve the problem for the reader who alerted me to the issue (I’m waiting to get a linkedIn message to set my mind at rest on that score) but via KDP reports I know there are 5 other people who have returned the book in the last couple of days, presumably because they also realised it was the wrong file.

I have no idea who they are – if you are one of them the above advice from Amazon should make it possible for you to receive the right file too.

I certainly hope so!

In the meantime I’m writing back to Amazon to ask if they could contact those who returned the wrong file and explain to them how they too can get the right one.

This publishing business defintiely isn’t a piece of cake…