As a writer and Indie Publisher I am always grateful that my distributor and the Nielsen book registration service have direct feeds into major on-line retailers. This facility means that, as soon as a book is published, it usually appears on global websites within 24-48 hours.
However, what appears is only as good as the algorithm these sites use to automatically process the data presented – and Amazon’s is clearly sub-optimal. Some examples from the last few months:
– I published a book by a UK playwright only to see Amazon immediately attribute it to a West Coast US author who happened to have the same name and an Amazon profile page. It took contact with Amazon support to remove the attribution.
– Recently I edited an anthology of poetry and prose, and the entry with my distributor and Nielsen had me listed as ‘Editor’ with no-one registered as author – after all, there were 64 of us! On Amazon, “New Contexts: 1” is shown as “by Ian Gouge” and can be very difficult to locate on their site…
– The book page also shows “New Contexts: 1” as available in 1-2 months, which is rubbish. Given the book is print-on-demand, turnaround is usually far faster than that. I’ve had people get POD books – from Amazon – within 48 hours. Surely 1-2 months would put people off, and therefore be counter-productive…
– At the other extreme, I’ve seen Amazon saying of some of my books “Only 3 left in stock!” which is also complete rubbish. As POD, Amazon will have none at all in stock; the comment is clearly trying to entice people to buy. [I suppose I should be grateful!]
So the message is clear, although I welcome Amazon as a platform to sell my work and the books I publish (commercially, why would you not?!), the message is: don’t believe everything Amazon tells you about the books they are selling – especially those from independent publishers.