Is Amazon Failing to Report Book Sales?

Urgently re-posting the news: evidence that Amazon may be failing to report book sales correctly.  

Warning: I personally have not noticed anything amiss in my book sales reports. I have no evidence that something like this is actually going on. But that such reports circulate on Internet, apparently providing convincing facts, is surely a matter for concern.

This article first came out last year on author Jeanette Vaughan's blog:




Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press
When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

ostrich head in the sand
Where, oh where are my royalties?
...

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales discrepancies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.
...

The first note of apparent discrepancy came when a dear friend of the author ordered three copies of the book from Amazon in June.    These books were ordered all at the same time, from Amazon.com direct.   Yet, that cluster of three sales was never posted as such.      Another instance in early July involved the same issue.    Again, a customer ordered three copies, yet no sales were trackable through Amazons channels for three sale purchased on the same day.
...
Meantime, the author was making public appearances, being featured on blogs and radio, and rounding with book signings.   During the months of June and July, no expanded distribution channel sales were posted on the royalty report, yet customers were emailing the author letting her know how much the book was being enjoyed overseas.   More than 15 five star reviews for the novel were posted on Amazon.

What should have shown as a surge of sales, as the book peaked, never appeared on the royalty reports.  
...
By August, it was clear there were gross in accuracies.  The 30 copies ordered from Barnes and Noble never showed up.   Few if any sales were listed for August.    Yet the author had confirmation of over 4,000 copies in distribution worldwide.    The crowning blow came in September.   A plan was devised.    A friend, agreed to help with the investigation.   She ordered a copy of FLYING SOLO on September 7th, taking screen shots of her order and confirmation of payment directly from Amazon.    She printed out here receipt showing date and time of purchase.   The book arrived on September 13, to San Jose, California.   Photos were taken.   The sale was complete.    Copies of all screenshots and receipts were scanned and sent to the author.    By September 20th,  no sales were shown at all on Createspaces report.    Phoning Createspace, the author was informed that no sales were showing for Amazon for the month for that title.  
...
What options does that leave the Indie publishers?     How can they possibly track the success of their marketing efforts.   Is the publishing world doomed to be controlled by the big six?  
...
Rise up Indie authors!    Repost this story!    Tweet it, facebook it.    Make it go viral.   Print it and send it to your local newspaper and the Associated Press.   This abject fraud is outrageous and MUST STOP!
John R. Clark, Managing Editor, AgeView Press

For the full story, go here.



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