Dear Amazon.... It's me, Kate. AGAIN.

Hey, about that plagiarized book on your site? I wish you'd send me the money from sales of that book, but you did send me the plagiarists' address and suggest I track him down on my own to get my cash, that's something, I guess.

Now it's this new situation that has me perplexed. Someone took the profits from one of my books--a book that was not authorized for sale--and that someone is you.

This is from a book I tried to eliminate from your site, but, you told me no, the dashboard is forever. I can't take away anything, just take the book into the draft form and it'll never pop up on the sale page again. You promised!

SO imagine my confusion when The Rat Catcher, a book I'd said goodbye and buried forever, suddenly showed up with a BUY IT NOW button. I immediately went to my KDP board and hit the "unpublish button" I hit that baby a lot.

Nothing happened. The book stayed up there.

So I started writing letters. Here. Let me refresh your memory on this.

I'll rearrange these so you get to see how the I really didn't start out with SO MANY CAPS in my notes. And the first couple of notes were dull, so let's skip them. We'll start with my third note to you. 

'User sent request while logged in as customer:

Topic: Remove a book - Other


The rat catcher is my book and it's supposed to be in draft form, not for sale, and draft is how it appears on my kindle publishing page. Yet is now for sale.

It was down for a long time but suddenly has shown up again. When I saw it a relatively low number, I asked you guys to remove it from the list of my books. I got a response from you saying the book was gone, but I can still find it and so can someone else, apparently. It has a new review. PLEASE TAKE THE BOOK DOWN.

I can't do anything because it's not listed as anything but draft-- it still has a buy button and it has had a fair number of sales. Could you look into that please?

Thank you,
Kate Rothwell
You sent me another form letter explaining how to take down the book. I know how to take it down. I tried. So I admit I got a little rude. I said I wanted the BOOK OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM. You answered with a non-form letter at last. Thanks for that!
-----Original Message-----
From: Kindle Direct Publishing


At this time, it is not possible to completely remove an unpublished book from the Bookshelf.  I'm sorry if this may cause you any inconvenience. However, I've changed the status of your book to "Blocked" in your Bookshelf. If you prefer to make corrections to this title and make it available for sale again, please write back to us and we will change the status back to "Draft."

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

All Right. Fine. But now ..... what about the money? 
So I wrote asking about that: 
I can see that over the last few weeks of me trying to get it out of the system, the title sold a few copies (the numbers went up and down) where would I see those sales since it's not listed anywhere?
And yeah, that's right, I got a familiar answer, telling me to check my dashboard. This, by the way, is the third letter from you telling me to check my dashboard.  Here is one, just for old time's sake.

 -Original Message-----
From: Kindle Direct Publishing []
Subject: Your Amazon KDP Inquiry

Hello Kate,

In order to check your sales reports, log into your KDP account at and access the "Reports" section on the KDP Dashboard.

We have three types of reports available:

1. Month-to-date Unit Sales - transactions for the current and prior month 2. Prior Six Weeks' Royalties - transactions for the past six weeks (generated on Sundays) 3. Prior Months' Royalties - transactions for the previous twelve months (generated by the 15th day of the month)
......[deleted because you know that form letter don't you? You've sent me quite a few]
I hope this is helpful. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.
No. It is not helpful. I think I made it clear: there are no sales numbers for that book. Nothing. But then, wait a sec. WHOOPS!! THE BOOK IS LISTED WITH A BUY IT NOW BUTTON AGAIN!!!
WTF? I called Author Central and got a nice lady who couldn't help me -- KDP and Author Central are different divisions who don't seem to communicate much. There's no phone number for the technical side of things, and that's not a big surprise. You guys are obviously very busy.
-----Original Message-----
To: ''
Subject: RE: Your Amazon KDP Inquiry

No. You don't understand the question--I guess I didn't make it clear. I know how to check my dashboard and sales logs. But this is a book that was listed as "draft" and has been for months, maybe even years. Therefore it is not showing up in reports. Yet I know that copies have sold. Why do I know this? Because when I checked a few times over the last few weeks, the book was listed as for sale, and the numbers for the book went fairly low, as in copies were sold. Also because another, NEW review has shown up. ALSO, WHEN I GO TO THE PAGE, THE BOOK IS LISTED AS FOR SALE---AGAIN!! There is a buy it now button, which wasn't there a few months ago. I keep TRYING to take it down, pushing the "unpublish" button on the dashboard, but nothing happens on the amazon page.
That's why I've contacted you guys, more than once, to take it down.
Please. Follow the link at the bottom of this message and take it down--and then (because I cannot see these figures on my kdp pages, because the book is listed as a draft) tell me how many copies have sold over the last few months.
Thank you,
Kate Rothwell

Silence. . . But it's only a day or two, so I won't get on your case for being a bad correspondent. And the book vanished again. That's good.

Connect with KDP and other Authors and Publishers:
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---- Original message: ----

Okay the book is no longer for sale. But during the time it was, at least four books sold--I know this because people told me they bought it. There is no record of those sales on my dashboard. How can I get the money due to me?

I wouldn't push this but I recently lost sales due to a plagiarist on Amazon so I'm turning into a penny-pinching money-grubber.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kindle Direct Publishing []
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:10 AM

Subject: Your Amazon KDP Inquiry

Hello Kate,

I'm very sorry for the confusion this issue may have caused.

I checked your sales reports and I can confirm that the last copy of your book "The Rat Catcher" was sold in January 2011. [WHAT? That's about when someone told me it had popped up again--no wait, that was 1/2012. Sorry.]

In order for us to investigate this issue further, please write back to us with more information, namely the order numbers and possibly the names of the purchasers. [I bolded this. Because...WTF?]

We'd be glad to get to the bottom of this issue as soon as possible. You may reply to us by visiting this page:

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.
 HOLY CRAP! I'm supposed to find the sales YOU made? But what hurts even more, I'm back to the beginning again. You're sending me to the basic "contact us" button? After all we've been through together? Nooooo!! I feel like I did when I had to play Chutes and Ladders with my kids and ended up at the start spot after hours of playing.
my response to you:
You're kidding, right? I'm supposed to track down and ask a bunch of people I don't know for their sales information about my book? 
Not going to happen. . . oh, but I did track down and asked the one person who wrote a review of the story (a review that's lost and I'd like to put on the new edition of the book, which is now called Someone to Cherish). Anyway she was nice enough to emailed me her order number almost at once. This is an order from March 4.
 I enclosed her number  . . 

That's where we left it. I eagerly await your next botchery of my books. I don't actually think you guys are Out To Get Us, but isn't it funny how you somehow end up with the money? Sorry my books don't sell better, but I imagine if you have enough people like me, you don't need us to hand over best sellers. 

UPDATE: I'm in ranty mode, obviously. But, no, I don't think Amazon's out to get me or this is something they planned. It's just that when there's a screw up, they don't have the resources or systems in place to figure it out. So I'm apparently SOL.

I think that the funniest quote from PASIC conference was also the most true
Jon Fine (from Amazon): “What you don’t see is that, behind the scenes, books selling sites are held together with a lot of duct tape.”
Mark Coker (from Smashwords and one of my fave people on the internet): “And string and bubblegum and pixie dust.”

UPDATE TWO: I wrote to Jon Fine and he wrote back within a couple of hours saying someone will look into it. I know, standard response for anyone in his position, but I still like getting it..

Also Jody W and meankitty pointed out that maybe this was yet another plagiarized version and that's why I had no power over it and why it kept popping up again like a whack-a-mole after it had been suppressed.  Derp. Yeah. And that might explain why the technical people needed a lead to it? They're not just trying to avoid the responsibility or be PITAs or have no clue about something they should know.

I'll take any good answer I can get, because I want to be happy about Amazon. I want to buy lots and lots of books from them (and sell lots and lots too). I have two freaking Kindles, for freak's sake, and a frightening number of books on them. I am a slave to Amazon as a reader for sure.    


  1. AmeliaElias12:15 PM

    Holy. Freaking. LORD. Makes me want to unAmazon things. Can you say untrustworthy???

  2. I had an issue with Amazon, which was basically handled by them in the same fashion. My cousin bought a copy of one of my books, when she hit "buy" she got two pop-ups, one that said her purchase didn't go through because her card was declined and one that said the book was available for download on her Kindle reading app. The bottom line is she got the book for free, it downloaded even though the sale was never charged to her card, yet she received an email with the transaction number and such. I wrote to the folks at KDP and they said sorry we have no records of that sale (duh, it didn't go through) and they asked me to provide them with a transaction number. So, I forwarded that information to them and received an email back that said they'd do some further investigating and get back in touch. I've never heard back from them. It makes me nervous because I wonder if this was just a fluke or if I'm missing out on other sales/royalties and people are getting my books for free.

  3. Indeed. We hope you enjoy your experience with Amazon and come back again. (No one believes publishers when we say no, we have no idea why this is happening and no, we can't make Amazon do anything about it.)

  4. I wish blogger had a thumbs up symbol because I'd give it to you guys, absolutely.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing the misery.

  5. Your issues are pretty intimidating. It does make me want to quit using Amazon as a sales venue. Hell, maybe the 'Rat Catcher' that was for sale was by another plagiarist and you just THOUGHT it was your copy...

  6. Oh, you poor darling. I know you have to be so incredibly frustrated. Hope you eventually get it worked out. Hugs.

  7. It had my name on it so I don't think it was plagiarized. Huh. Could it have been on someone else's dashboard and that's why I couldn't unpublish it?

    And the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. It hadn't occurred to me that's what could have happened. That answer would explain why it kept popping up after I asked them to take it down.

    In the meantime, Jon Fine has written back (I got his email from PASIC) and said he's having his people look into it. That's nice.

    I'm such small potatoes--that's why I blogged and fussed. I figure being a squeaky wheel would make up for being such a tiny little wheel.

  8. I feel so bad for you! Heck, just reading about it made me frustrated. I think the customer service is the biggest gripe I've heard about Amazon so far. Well, that and they're trying to take over the world, but, you know...
    Sorry you had to deal with that. Makes me want to check my dashboard even more than I already do.
    Keep us posted.

  9. Kate,
    Now you're making me even sorrier that I didn't make the PASIC conference this year! I would love to meet you in person! Thanks for fighting for all of us smaller authors!
    Tracey Lyons

  10. You know what? If they profit off plagiarized stuff and "glitches" like this, it's still them profiting off what is basically theft. And to continue profiting after you alert them to the problem is particularly heinous. Sure, it's only a couple bucks, but like you said, if they get a couple bucks from everyone...

  11. Hey, yeah. What you said.


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