“Why are so many books out of stock at Amazon now?”

Q –


I noticed both of my books are now out of stock at Amazon. I don’t understand. Did they sell out? I don’t see any sales in my publisher’s account for my books.


A –

Amazon is in the process of closing warehouses, and laying off thousands of employees. Many assume that having a “print on demand” book means your book will never be out of stock. Amazon used to have “virtual inventory” numbers in their system but they don’t appear to be doing that anymore. Years ago, if Amazon’s site said they had copies on stock, that may not have been the case.

If your book is distributed by Ingram, the largest book distributor, Amazon can order copies. If you book is listed as out of stock, people can still order your book. If they do, Amazon will simply order a copy from Ingram. And, in many cases, Ingram will ship that book directly to Amazon’s customer, even using an Amazon return address label.

As Amazon continues to close warehouses and lay off employees due to the economy, authors and publishers can expect more listing problems. And, if you do contact Amazon about a listing problem on your book’s page, you will likely get a canned answer from an employee overseas that will not help you at all. And, they will often blame your publisher for the error and that is almost always NOT TRUE. It seems that Amazon’s employees habitually send out canned responses in an attempt to get rid of complainers.

Even books Amazon has published through Amazon KDP have had problems. And, those authors have reported that Amazon KDP’s customer service is awful.

Worse, Amazon KDP has been randomly terminating authors. Many report it’s been done for no reason (or that Amazon has not shared the reason).

This is just another lesson on why authors and publishers should never put all their eggs in one basket. If you rely on just one retailer (even the largest) to sell your books, you’re in for a world of trouble when things start going downhill.

At BookLocker.com, our authors’ books are always available at our website, and at more reputable (ethical!) websites like BarnesandNoble.com, BooksAMillion, Walmart.com, Target.com, Chapters/Indigo, and numerous other retailers across the globe. Our ebooks are available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Apple, Kobo (Canada’s largest ebook retailer), Overdrive (which sells to multi-thousands of libaries and schools), Google Play, and, of course, BookLocker.com.

I also recommend authors always keep copies on hand that they can sell to people directly.


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