Any and all. And all can be scuttled in a heartbeat by the device a customer shops with. Who knew?
A fellow writer e-mailed me the other night—she wanted to buy one of my trade paperbacks, and it was showing up as “unavailable.” I use Createspace for the trade paperback, and the books are produced to order, so I was puzzled. I whipped out my Kindle Fire tablet, and sure enough, most of my titles were “unavailable” in trade paperback. Not all, but about half.
I immediately logged on to Createspace, and verified that the titles were live, and the distribution channels included Amazon.com. I needed copies of The Ring of Allaire, so I ordered some. Then I contacted Createspace Support to see what insight they might have.
Support promised to get back to me in one to two business days. (Obviously I am valuable to them. I am an author. I supply them with books. Without authors, they have no product to sell. They’d be reduced to peddling editing and cover creation services.)
While I waited, I plied my laptop to look up my books on Amazon.com. No title was “unavailable.” But to find the trade paperbacks, I might have to click under the Kindle version, where it lists other formats, and click that paperback.
I’d already told my friend about a local shop that had a copy of the book she wanted, but I also relayed the information I’d just gleaned. In a bit under 24 hours, I heard from Createspace Support. They had checked my book, and it was available. Well, that’s such a relief! People can buy my book.
Assuming, that is, that they can find it. And if they’re using a tablet, they may not be able to. (For all I know, that applies to apps too.) When you’re using a tablet, the trade paperback appears to be “unavailable.” And I don’t know about you, but that would stop me cold, as a shopper. Shopping should be easy, not hard. That’s how you get sales.
How many sales might this issue cost an author? No way to know that I can see. Createspace seems unaware of the issue. Haven’t asked Kindle.
Kindle, Createspace and Fire tablets are all bits of Amazon.com. Be nice if they played well together, wouldn’t it? If they don’t, it pretty much defeats any marketing an author might do.