Amazon blocked my book. Why? I don’t know.

Last Monday, I logged onto my Amazon author’s page and much to my surprise, I learned that my book, BONE GIRL, was blocked. Amazon refused to sell it.

BLOCKED2I immediately emailed the company and received no response. I sent a second email on Tuesday and again, I received no response. Meanwhile, BONE GIRL could not be bought in e-book form on Amazon. It was and is still available at Nook, Kobo and iBook. Smashwords, the distributor I used for my books, had no qualms with BONE GIRL.

On Wednesday, I received an email. Amazon demanded I prove I am the author of BONE GIRL. Okay. No problem. I publish the book via my own small press, Baskethound Books. I sent them an image of my business license. On Thursday, I sent them a copy of the copyright for BONE GIRL. This is the only book I have bothered to seek a copyright for, and I did it only so that I could submit it to a writing contest.

On Thursday, I made the mistake of publishing my experiences to a writer’s board called KBoards. I asked if other authors had the experience of Amazon suddenly and without warning blocking their book. The replies soon came and with them, the venom of my fellow writers. Here’s what those writers had to say: Of course Amazon blocked your book: it has the word “bone” in the title; it must be erotica. Of course Amazon blocked your book: you are copy-catting the best book of 2014: GONE GIRL. It’s obvious: just compare the movie poster to your cover. How dare you? I expressed my innocence: I’ve never read GONE GIRL. I didn’t even see the movie. My book cover features a horse; the movie poster features Ben Affleck. How similar are those? In the end, I asked that my profile be removed from KBoards.

Some writers think Amazon doesn’t help anyone but itself. I don’t know if that’s true. But, I’m foolish enough to wonder if Amazon blocked BONE GIRL with no warning and no explanation, what is to stop them from blocking A YEAR WITH GENO or any of my other books? Will I just log on one day and see that they are not for sale? Maybe.

Some authors publish their books only on Amazon, and I have chosen that route on occasion in the past. But now I’m asking: is it possible for me to publish my books without using Amazon at all? Well, maybe. For example, my readers love print books. Okay. What if I choose – and I do love that word – to publish CELEBRATION HOUSE and its two sequels only in print? I could do it via Ingram Spark. Then, if readers want a copy, they visit Barnes & Noble in person or online and buy one there. Or they could go to their local independently owned bookstore and request the book. It’s not like I’m a bestselling author. Not yet.

As for ebooks, what if I publish with Smashwords only? Readers could buy it from Kobo, iBook or Nook. It’s still available, just not on Amazon. This idea intrigues me: is there life without Amazon?

One last thing: what really bothers me about Amazon and its decision to block my book is that there’s no accountability. I queried them three times to ask why. Why did they block my book? But they do not tell me. They have no phone number. I have only the option of sending emails. It’s kind of like KBoards. The people who post there, especially the venomous ones, do not have a public profile. They like to remain anonymous. That way, they can say whatever they want and there’s no accountability. Hmm. Does that seem like cowardice? I don’t know. What do you think?

Hands and arms inside the cart: Next, still trying to learn how to manage an event venue

P.S. I forgot to say: Amazon removed the block yesterday. Why? I don’t know.

About AnnetteDrake

Annette Drake is a multi-genre author whose work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences. She makes her home in Washington state. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she loves ferry rides, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp.
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3 Responses to Amazon blocked my book. Why? I don’t know.

  1. That’s terrible. The idiocy of people who depend on feebleminded computers to make their business decisions for them borders on the criminal.

    And yes, there is life without Amazon ebooks. I did publish my paperback through CreateSpace, but I never let them send my book to Kindle. Smashwords also issues .mobi format ebooks. Go for it.

    P.S.: Please do protect your other books by registering their copyrights, too.

  2. Lyn says:

    I just read Building Celebration House and thoroughly enjoyed it. I saw the book Bone Girl and wanted to read it also but cannot find it anywhere. Amazon does not have it. Did you every figure out why? If is the title that is close to Gone Girl, can you change the name? This is very strange.

    • AnnetteDrake says:

      Hi, Lyn.
      I retitled the book “Trombone Girl: The Josey Miller Story.”
      I chose to give it a new title because “Bone Girl” was too close to the book you mentioned, “Gone Girl.” In fact, I once walked into my local bookstore and saw that book, “Gone Girl,” and I panicked! I thought somebody had already used my title. Also, some readers misunderstood “Bone Girl” as having something to do with bones or, uh erotica books. “Bone Girl” has nothing to do with either of those subjects. The word “bone” referred to trombone, which the instrument is sometimes called. So, please look for Trombone Girl: The Josey Miller Story.
      Thank you so much for your praise of “Building Celebration House.” I feel like the trilogy has found its readers, and that makes me so happy.
      Best wishes,
      Annette

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