I am about to give a few thousand authors a really terrible morning.
Numerous authors are reporting. both on Facebook and in private discussions, that their ebooks have disappeared from Amazon.com. I have read first hand over a half-dozen reports to this effect, and heard many more reports second hand.
The issue seems to only be affecting Amazon.com, and according to two reports primarily new releases are impacted. The affected listings have vanished from the site entirely, and have been replaced with one of Amazon’s cute 404 pages (the ones with dogs), but the books are still listed on other Amazon sites.
Update: Several people are saying that this looks like the first stage in the next purge of authors. I disagree. I don’t know what went wrong on Amazon.com, but I have seen similar issues on a WP site often enough that I know how to fix them. The cause on WP would be that the code running the site can’t find the content in its database (but the content is still there), and the solution (it works almost all the time) is to go into the “permalinks” settings menu and save it. This helps the site find the content again.
Author John Van Stry has lost two books to this issue. “The two books I put out (one last week, one 5 weeks prior) are now gone. The one from last week was a #1 bestseller,” he told me by email. “This is going to kill me financially, because I was in the new release cycle on two books, and now I’ve been thrown out of that and when my book comes back it won’t be #134 overall on amazon and #1 in like 6 different categories.”
John also told me that Amazon’s help center in India told him that it will be 24 to 48 hours before this is fixed. As someone who does tech support, this sounds like they do not yet know what broke, much less how to fix it.
That impression was confirmed by a second report to the effect that Amazon’s tech team is doing its due diligence, and that they have no idea when it will be back up.
Update: They may have fixed it. I’ve read several reports on Facebook that affected ebooks have been restored.
Have your ebooks been affected?