Well, what do you think? Does Jeff Bezos give a hoot About indie authors? I think not. And first, here is the math or maths (I am British) to show why.

Amazon total revenue from the third party marketplace alone is $9.3 billion. Source: CNBC.com. The same article states:

The retail and marketplace teams have a long history of competition. But in the last few years, the marketplace side has gained significance, thanks largely to an influx of listings from Chinese manufacturers. In its most recent quarter, Amazon generated $9.3 billion from the third-party marketplace, which includes commissions, and shipping and storage fees for their products.

‘Retail’ includes Amazon products such as Fire, Kindle, Echo, and all the other ‘in-house’ labels. ‘Marketplace’ means all those pesky third party sellers of everything from books to beauty products, often but not exclusively sold via the Amazon Fulfillment system.

The CNBC article adds:

It’s the latest shakeup in the third-party marketplace, which now accounts for over half of Amazon’s e-commerce volume. The business has grown rapidly in recent years by giving millions of outside merchants access to Amazon’s global fulfillment center, logistics system and shipping relationships as well as its huge customer base.

The simple math there is if half of Amazon’s e-commerce volume equals $9.3 billion, the total revenue must be in the region of $20 billion.

So, where does Kindle fit in the grand scheme of things? According to authorearnings.com, –

During the last three quarters of 2017, we recorded $1.3 billion in individually tracked ebook sales

That’s US eBook sales only, but it is the largest English language book market worldwide. Even if we add, say, another $1 billion for the UK, the second largest market, and all other English-speaking nations, that would total $2.3 billion. It has been estimated Amazon’s share is about forty percent of all eBook sales or $9.2 million.

Okay, that isn’t a figure to be sneezed at. It’s still a lot of zeros. But it’s millions not billions!

Amazon gave the world the Kindle e-reader. It revolutionized the publishing world. It also opened the floodgates for writers like me to self-publish through Amazon.

Amazon has been described as behemoth. It is. It is secretive to an extreme only releasing information it has to. Quartz Media wrote this about Amazon:

But ebook sales are anybody’s guess. Amazon doesn’t report its ebook sales to any of the major industry data sources, and it doesn’t give authors more than their own personal slice of data. A spokesperson from Amazon writes by email that “hundreds of thousands of authors self-publish their books today with Kindle Direct Publishing,” but declined to provide a number, or any sales data.

There is the rub – “A spokesperson from Amazon writes by email that “hundreds of thousands of authors self-publish their books today with Kindle Direct Publishing,” but declined to provide a number, or any sales data.”

Sound familiar?

It does to me. I am sick and tired of receiving Amazon replies by email that (a) do not address the issue raised and/or (b) it is couched in policy terms as a general vague template reply.

Like so many other indie authors, I have fallen foul of some arbitrary algorithm that deletes reviews. legitimate reviews. Granted, it has only happened about five times and all were reinstated after I complained via email to jeff.bezos@amazon.com.

It just happened again. three days ago. I thought ‘What!’ It was a perfectly legitimate verified review. Once again, I have emailed Mr. Bezos and this is part of what I wrote:

Dear Mr. Bezos

With reference to my title https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Steve-Regan-Undercover-Book-ebook/dp/B075N3158G/
I complain yet again about a review which has been deleted for no reason whatsoever. I’m getting sick of this and so many other indie authors feel the same. I am now reduced to keeping a daily watch on all my titles in case reviews are arbitrarily deleted by some anonymous member of your company hidden away in a windowless room somewhere, or even worse, deleted by a machine!

Below is the review now deleted. The reviewer did not delete it and contacted Amazon but given no real reason for the deletion…

It’s a chore to keep an eye on about one hundred reviews spread across my books on Amazon. I shouldn’t have to do it. I blame all the review swappers, click farm scammers, and the like for this whole mess.

Just Google ‘Amazon book reviews deleted.” There are pages of articles and blog posts on the topic. Does Amazon’s Jeff Bezos give a hoot? No way!

Up to now, I have always received a response, not from Jeff Bezos, but one of his minions posing under the title of KDP Executive Customer Relations Manager. I await a response in this latest case of an unfair deletion of a perfectly good and valid review.

I wish I didn’t need Amazon!

Shake-ups are going on at Amazon, but the self-publishing arm will carry on as normal because they don’t give a hoot! Tell me it ain’t so, Mr. Bezos.

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