The Action in the Amazon Continues

Those following along at home will recall that, last week, it was discovered by an Alert Reader that Amazon had taken The Crystal Variation, an omnibus of novels Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon, and Balance of Trade, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, published by Baen Books off sale.  We alerted Baen.  Baen’s Speaker To Amazon found that Amazon had identified 144 “spelling errors.”  Until those “spelling errors” were corrected the book could not be sold.

Baen forwarded the list to us, and we identified — wait for it — THREE incidences of Actual Misspelled Words (the rest were made-up scifi words, and most of them were “cermacrete”), four instances of missing commas (which Amazon had not pinpointed as errors), and one instance of two words that were smushed together.

Yeah, that’s it.  Amazon pulled our omnibus, without notice, for containing three spelling errors across a 1200-page book.

The Crystal Variation is now back on sale at Amazon, thanks to speedy work on Baen’s part, for getting those errors fixed, and the book re-up-loaded in record time.

So, that.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Amazon had likewise taken Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18,  by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, published by Pinbeam Books (aka Sharon Lee and Steve Miller) off-sale, without warning, for four spelling errors and two bad line breaks. These errors were represented as having been reported by a reader who found them “distracting.”

Yesterday, I fixed the two misspellings, recompiled the book and re-uploaded it to Amazon.

This morning, I have in my mailbox a communication from Amazon, stating that copyright is important to them, and that I must, in five days, provide proof that I have the right to publish Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18.  The acceptable proofs are:

Acceptable documentation includes:

- A contract or statement from the author or publisher verifying you retain publishing rights
- An e-mail from the address listed on the official author or agent’s website
- For authors using a pseudonym, copyright registration or statement of pseudonym use
If you publish books for which you do not hold the publishing rights, your account may be terminated.

So, a letter has been written to Amazon, explaining the situation to them for at least the second, and possibly the third, time since we’ve been doing business — in the five years during which we’ve been doing business — together.  Though “together” may not exactly be the word I want, here.

As of this writing, I believe that Amazon will sell you a copy of Courier Run, Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 18.  There is a Quality Issues Reported Hazard Triangle just below the title.  The drop-down for that reads:

Customers reported Quality Issues with this eBook.  This eBook has
TYPOS
The publisher has been notified to correct these issues.

. . .so I’m guessing it’s not the amended file they’re selling.

# # #

In less-fraught news, Steve and I took yesterday off to travel into Waterville to attend the Very First Screening of “Kubo and the Two Strings.”  This is a very beautiful movie (we saw the 2-D version); the animation was amazing. The story itself is short on plot, though the writers/directors have an Absolute Mastery of Emotional Manipulation.  I recommend it for the animation alone, and for the overall sweetness of tone.  I came away from the movie feeling (briefly) peaceful and content.  So — C+.

# # #

For those who have been following the New Box Project.  I offer the following short photo essay:

Trooper still prefers the red basket:

Trooper still prefers the old Aug 18 2016

Sprite is thinking about the new box:

Sprite tries the new box Aug 18 2016

. . .which has already received the Belle Seal of Approval:

The Belle Seal of Approval Aug 18 2016

Observant readers will note that the floofy towel has been removed from the New Box. The floofy towel was Not a Proper Use.  So I was told.

# # #

Today, I work.  And probably do the laundry, because the life of a writer is unremittingly glamorous.

Everybody have a good weekend!

13 thoughts on “The Action in the Amazon Continues”

  1. All of the above explains why I get my Lee & Miller hardcopies from Uncle Hugo’s, and my ebooks from Baen, whenever possible!

  2. Amazon isn’t perfect, but neither is Baen. I bought both Liaden Unibus I and II from Baen years ago. Some time ago I was rereading the Liaden saga and tried to redownload the ebooks from Baen. They are now out of print and it took several days of emailing with Baen to finally get them to agree to resend them to me. I also have “out of print” ebooks from Amazon, but I have never had a problem redownloading them from Amazon. So, now, my first choice is seller is Amazon, not Baen.

  3. PS Amazon now stores all my Bean ebooks in my doc file on Amazon’s servers. So, I no longer have any problem redownloading them to my Kindle.

  4. This is, of course, up to you.

    As you say, no one vendor is perfect. But, if Amazon wants to be the only vendor on earth, as clearly they do, they need to do better.

    Actually, they don’t need to do better, but I’m holding them to the standard of common sense, which I don’t think is too high a bar.

  5. The ebook of “Secrets of Jin Shei” has been unavailable at Amazon for damn near three months now because “typos”. At least you had a list. I never did. I have no idea what the “typos” were – perhaps my Chinese-inspired names? And in any event, TYPOS? Really? they can pull an entire book for TYPOS?

    I am told (by the agent of record for the book) that they’ve contacted their “Amazon person” about this. But that was weeks ago. And the book is still not available.

    This is hard enough without people being idiots about it…

  6. it is a pity we cannot boycot Amazon but their tentacles extend into so many fields these days it would be near impossible to do anything on the internet without them being involved.

  7. To be fair, I had to shake a list out of them by writing to Kindle Help, and asking why the book’s catalog page stated that the book had been pulled for Quality Issues, but my publisher dashboard indicated that the title was for sale, and, um — which was it? At least I had the advantage — for Courier Run — of being the publisher.

    For The Crystal Variation, Baen’s Amazon Person had to do the shaking free of the list. According to their own rules, they’re supposed to give you a list, or a copy of the reader complaint, when they pull your book, but, um — no.

    And, yeah, for typos. The explanation I had is that. . .a significant percentage of self-pubbed books are rife with typos — not just three or even a dozen, but dozens per page, because — I dunno? People don’t know how to use the spell-checker in their word processing programs? And there were customer complaints. Enough complaints that Amazon lurched into action.

    Now, when I upload a book, Amazon tags the “misspellings” right then and there, and I have to go through all of them and either ignore them or fix them. Maybe your agent, or whomever is the publisher of . . .Jin Shei could re-upload a copy and see what spelling errors pop up? Maybe they could even let you do that? I mean, yeah — who has the time, but it might get the book back on sale.

  8. I, for one, feel comforted that your cats hold Amazon in disdain and are maintaining a high level of quality control in things that really matter, such as boxes.

    I’ve asked my own cats, and they feel that correct spelling is overrated.

  9. Well, at least Amazon is attempting to check copyright ownership. A few years back some bozo had some of C. J. Cherryh’s books for sale with himself listed as the author. Don’t know how long it took to get it taken down, but there were many 1 star reviews posted by those of us who read about it on Wave Without a Shore, C. J.’s blog. One hopes it won’t be too onerous a task to get Amazon’s copyright issues with “Courier Run” sorted.

    I haven’t tried re-downloading any of your books from Baen which is where I’ve bought most of them. I do have multiple copies of the files – laptop, tablet, backup of laptop, and hard drive from dead desktop. So I assume I can recover my books without going back to the seller.

  10. Having seen “Kubo and the Two Strings” this morning I wholeheartedly agree with your review of the movie. I have been waiting impatiently for the release and I, and my daughter and her partner, were a total thumbs up. I did especially enjoy the rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by Regina Spektor.

  11. Is someone (perhaps an agent from the DoI) playing silly-billies with the Amazon server? On 5 May – publication day -, I bought a kindle book – the wrong one (completely wrong – different author, different title, different subject, and even a different later publication date) was delivered. Over a period of six weeks, I tried several times to get the book I wanted, and eventually succeeded. However, I have just looked at the web page for the book and see that, even after it appeared that the problem had been fixed, amazon is STILL sending out the wrong file. Definite hints of Doi, imho.

  12. Was this one of our books, or another? Either way, I think Amazon is getting too big to survive. Not only does it need a tail-brain and a head-brain, it needs two in the middle just to lurch along…

  13. Another – I already have (multiple) copies of the ones that were available on 5 May – and I am eagerly awaiting the next instalments. It was in fact a book by Angela Thirkell, so originally published in the 1940’s, which makes it slightly more bizarre that it could be countermingled with a book published for the first time in 2016. Yes, perhaps Amazon needs to concentrate a bit more on its core business; although I have always found it provides good customer service at least to the people who buy from it…..

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