As an independent author living in Switzerland, I use a US publisher for my books. (Not e-books. Different sorry saga.) The publisher is a subsidiary of Amazon, so naturally I have been secure in the knowledge that my books are being distributed through the Amazon international network as well as an ‘Expanded Distribution System’ that I pay for to have my books available to bookstores, universities and libraries worldwide.
How wrong I have been. I recently discovered that my books were not appearing on Amazon UK. So, I shot off a message to my publisher asking why.
The answer was a shock.
Yes, my publisher is a subsidiary of Amazon US and my books are therefore automatically listed on the US site. But they have no affiliation with Amazon Germany, Japan, Canada, UK or France and these international Amazon sites do not list my books via any connection at all with Amazon US. Their listings are provided by a company called Ingram Wholesale/Lightning Source International (LSI).
As well as LSI, the international Amazon sites use third party resellers to provide books for their sites. I checked one of my books on the UK site and was presented with these reseller options to buy my book: Winston Bookstore UK, Spineys, Quartermelon, Aphrohead Books, Buyve: Buy to Give, The Book Depository and GB Books UK. Who are these providers? And why do they stock my books and not Amazon UK?
But the worst part was that these resellers were offering my book at up to DOUBLE the price that the book is listed in the US. One was even double for a USED copy. Resellers or blatant ‘rip off merchants’?
The only bright side to this story is that Amazon Germany, France, Canada and Japan seem to be offering most of my books directly from their sites and at the correct listed price.
But it does beg the question – who the hell is Amazon outside the US?
And the conclusion that Amazon UK is to be avoided completely as it is clearly attempting to rip off my readers.