As far as I am concerned, it is certainly a curious case of crankiness and CreateSpace. CreateSpace, or CS for short, is, as I am sure you already know, the Print On Demand (POD) arm of the mighty Amazon. I would love you to join in the debate and comment on my views based on recent experiences with CS.

The trouble and crankiness I experienced with CS arose out of the launch of the revised edition of my book Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story. It has been added to substantially with fresh material and I also make some revelations in there that have attracted quite a media buzz in the UK.

The buzz was anticipated by me and I informed my new publisher, Creativia, of it. Accordingly, we (me and my publisher) set a launch date of June 29, 2017 for the new revised edition. So far, so good.

Kindle progressed like a dream. Come June 29, the new Kindle version was up there and available in all Amazon countries. Well done KDP!

If only I could say the same about CreateSpace. Their systems have to be among the clunkiest, cackhanded in the world. I jump ahead; please read on.

The point is this: CreateSpace are so slow reacting to the requests of authors and publishers. Not only slow, but their attitude towards authors, the content creators, is shabby at best and dishonest at worst. They seem to place the needs of sellers on Amazon way above the creatives who actually produce the content for sellers to sell! In my case, the content is a book.

For goodness sake, I had potential readers of my book, numbering millions, listening or watching UK media broadcasts featuring interviews with me on both national and regional TV and radio. Not to mention, coverage by two national newspapers, the Guardian and Sunday Express.

So, what happens if one of those listeners or viewers searches on Amazon for my book. Fine, if they wish to purchase the Kindle version but not so fine if they want the paperback. The latter is still listing the old first edition.

Naturally, I contacted CreateSpace about this unsatisfactory state of affairs. Before I tell you about that, let me also tell you both my publisher and I had told CS way before June 29 that the old title was to be retired and a new one put in its place thus preserving all the reviews for the first edition. Therefore, it should have been listed as a paperback as the new revised edition. It wasn’t and at the time of writing this, it still isn’t.

Well, that appears to be the case as it shows 14 Sep 2016 alongside the title. That was the date the first edition was published.

Okay, so then I clicked on the link to the title and here is what I found:

Actually I clicked thrice. Once on the title, once on the paperback version then on ‘Look Inside.’ Voila! It is now listing the correct edition – published by Creativia in 2017.

Or is it? It does say the ‘Look Inside’ feature is not yet available for the paperback.There is no way of knowing for sure unless I order one. Yeah, right, it costs a fortune to ship to the Philippines.

I like to believe it must be the correct paperback listing. It would be incredibly stupid of CreateSpace to list the paperback with a ‘Look Inside’ that indicates it is the new edition if it turns out that is incorrect.

All of this does not mean I have a valid point. It remains a curious case of crankiness and CreateSpace.

The seemingly correct paperback listing has appeared way too long after June 29 and more to the point, way too long after some listeners/viewers may have purchased the old edition.

In my communications with CreateSpace, email and telephone, I have given them hell. What was their response and attitude in reply? Like I said – they seem to put sellers before content creators. Don’t believe me? Here is the email sent to me by CS:

Hello Stephen,

Greetings from CreateSpace.

I understand you have retired the older edition and are concerned about the third party listing on Amazon.

Please know as your retired Title “Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story” was enabled for Expanded Distribution, it gives access to thousands of online retailers, bookstores, libraries and academic outlets, purchase your book, through our direct relationships with Ingram/Lightning Source, Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers.

Retailers, including Amazon, allow third-parties to sell products on their websites. The book that is available are the used copies sold by third parties who have originally purchased your books via one of the expanded distribution channels.

You do not see these sales for these used copies on your royalty report as you already earned royalties during the original manufacture and sale of your book.

The specifics in the listings for items sold by third-party sellers on the Amazon platforms are solely at the discretion of the third-party seller. For instance, sellers in the Expanded Distribution program can list a title on Amazon.com as “used” even if originally purchased as “new”.

CreateSpace is not directly affiliated with these sellers and cannot control the selling price and condition (new or used) of these listings.

Here are some examples of these types of listings:

– Sellers can list your book for sale without physical inventory on-hand. When the seller receives a customer order, they then place an order from Amazon.com, Amazon’s European websites or CreateSpace to fulfill this demand and drop-ship it to the customer. At that time, your title is manufactured; you earn a royalty, and the order is sent to the end customer.

– For books enrolled in Expanded Distribution, third-party sellers can create listings on various retail sites both domestically and internationally. These sellers can source your title from the distributors we work with through Expanded Distribution, to fulfill customer orders. Once the title is manufactured, an Expanded Distribution royalty will be reported in your account within 8 weeks.

– Sellers can list used copies of your title for sale. If a used copy is sold, you will not receive a royalty for this sale because you previously received the royalty when the title was manufactured and originally sold.

***********
Please be assured that no new copies of your Title will be manufactured or distributed. Although we will no longer fulfill new orders placed for your book, we cannot completely remove the detail page if it is still available for sale as a used copy through any Marketplace. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Further, to avoid confusion for the customers on Amazon, we can add an option called “Newer version feature” to the Amazon detail page of the retired edition upon your request.

The “Newer version feature” enables customers who are searching for your book, also see that there is a newer version available.

If you’d like us to add the newer version link to the retired edition, please write to us confirming the same and we will add the newer edition link right away.

Stephen, I hope this information is helpful. Should you require any further information, please feel free to write back to us so that we can assist you further.

We appreciate your support and understanding in this regard.

………………………………………………………………………..
Did we solve your problem?

No! You did not!

First off, my concern was not about third party listings!

I highlighted the area I have a problem with. In order they are:

Although we will no longer fulfill new orders placed for your book, we cannot completely remove the detail page if it is still available for sale as a used copy through any Marketplace. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Right! So, the seller of a used copy on Amazon (Marketplace is Amazon speak for Amazon in any country it operates in) is more important than me, the author, and more importantly the listener/viewer (or anyone else) who purchased the wrong edition!

I have pointed that out to them and insisted they refund any sales in that category or alternatively replace any old editions sold by them from June 29. I doubt they will. By the way, they were given advance warning about the operative date of June 29, mucho advance warning.

we can add an option called “Newer version feature” to the Amazon detail page of the retired edition upon your request.

In theory, it sounds like a good idea. it’s a bit like a redirect on a web page. In practice, it is the thoughts of an imbecile.

Redirect? Where? They did not list the new edition while the old one was still there for the benefit of a handful of Amazon sellers who wanted to get rid of their used copies!!!!!

Rant over!

Takeaway? Never ever plan anything if it involves relying on CreateSpace. My advice – wait until it is actually listed before any promo.

That was easier said than done for me. One of my revelations in the new edition was about a large stash of drugs I believe to be hidden in Wales. I had to liaise with the BBC who contacted the local police and land owner about my claim. Timing was of the essence.

Now to finish my novel!


PS I have now discovered the old and new versions are listed on Amazon. Yay! I now have the job of going through this site and replacing old links to my book with new ones!

I will also ask CS to do the redirect 🙂 [PS – now done]

Below is the link to the NEW EDITION.

 

I will post some links to the media coverage I received in due course. Be warned! Some only last for 29 days as they are on BBC iPlayer.

Further PS – The new links are all my Media page. Click here to see all media links to me and my book.

 

 

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