What Exactly Does Amazon Mean by “High Risk Publishing Activity”?

It’s time to engage your mind-reading skills, folks; Amazon is sending out cryptic emails again.

A number of my readers are self-published authors so you might have seen one of these, but I just heard about it yesterday. There’s an unresolved but dormant discussion over on KindleBoards. One author reported that shortly after she adjusted the prices of one of her books, Amazon froze the book and posted a notice that it was under review.

After waiting a few days for Amazon to clear up the matter, she sent an email asking WTH was going on and was told this:

We are taking these actions based on general high risk publishing activity. During this review period you are welcome to submit additional books for review, but publishing may be delayed until this review is complete. I’m sorry, but we can’t offer any additional insight or action on this matter.

If you don’t know what it means, you’re not alone. I don’t know what it means either, and the other authors who commented on the original topic are also puzzled. One had gotten a similar email, but had no better explanation.

But what’s even more interesting is that Amazon cannot explain what it means. When I first learned of this yesterday, I reached out to a contact at Amazon. They have not commented on it, and this is one of the topics which they do not even wish to acknowledge.

It really makes you wonder what they’re doing behind the scenes, doesn’t it? If anyone has more info, feel free to leave a comment.

via Indie BookSpot

image by Keith Williamson

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. TLE8 November, 2012

    Until I get more information, I’m going with the theory that high risk is associated with certain niches and topics, especially those that are prevalently pushed by internet marketers. So, high risk for duplicated content, stolen content, rewritten/plagiarized content. Many internet marketers think they can go to someone’s website, copy the text, rewrite it a bit, and publish books with it, and that there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

    I’d be interested to know what kinds of books this affected. If it’s mostly non-fiction, then I think my theory might have some meat behind it. I also know of marketers who are paying people to write a lot of short fiction for them. It’s possible some of these people are maximizing their profits and reselling the same stories with, or even without, minor changes. I’ve also heard of people buying the books, writing a knock-off straight from the text of the original, and then publishing it with a different cover.

    It’s really horrifically amazing to watch some of the stuff going on behind the scenes with people trying to make a buck off self-publishing through KDP.

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