When I reported two weeks ago that due to a bug ebooks were being automatically removed from sale in the Kindle Store, I used a "don't panic" graphic. I figured Amazon would fix this issue within a few hours, so there was no reason to jump up and down about it.
I was wrong.
Not only has the problem continued, a significantly larger number of authors are being affected. What started as only a handful of reports two weeks ago has grown to scores if not hundreds of authors reporting, all in the past couple days, that Amazon has taken one or more of their books down from the Kindle Store.
Many of the reports sound like this:
I woke up this morning and two of my ebooks have been pulled for sale from Amazon.com. I checked my competitors as well as ebooks in other categories and they have also been pulled down too. There are ebooks in the top 100 charts that have been pulled too. I checked my KDP account and the ebook status is 'live', but when I click the link to the ebook on Amazon.com, there is no buy box for the Kindle edition -- only for the paperback edition.
If you think that report was scary, try this one on for size. Amazon is apparently showing only a random selection of each author's ebooks to each visitor, and leaving the rest hidden.
Yesterday, I had friends outside of my country (I'm in Canada) check the status of my books. Rhode Island, could see half my books, but not the other half or they said unavailable for purchase. Florida couldn't see any of the kindle books for sale. Ohio could see and buy them all. Australia could only see half.
What this report means folks is that even the authors who think they are unaffected can never be 100% sure that they escaped Amazon's ebook massacre. For all they know their ebooks are being hidden from the next customers.
And to make matters worse, there are also reports that the trick of "republishing" an affected ebook doesn't always solve the problem. At least two authors I know tried the trick and their ebooks are still affected.
Now is the time to panic, folks.
Amazon was contacted before the previous post was published, and did not respond.
Update: Amazon finally acknowledged the issue. This was posted on the KDP support forums:
We're experiencing an issue that has made some eBooks unavailable in the Kindle store in different marketplaces. Our engineers are working to solve this issue as quickly as possible. We'll update this post to keep the Community informed once this issue has been resolved.
We appreciate your patience and understanding in the meantime.
Kindle Direct Publishing Team