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Dear Amazon

Dear Amazon,

Yesterday, you told me that Rings of Anubis could be had for $4! Well that’s deal, I thought, and I went to look at the page, thinking I would advertise the sale to my five readers. Only, when I got to the page, I saw the book was no longer part of Prime, and that Amazon was not, in fact, the seller.

Huh.

I wrote to my publisher, asking if the book was going out of print — it was the only thing that made sense at the time, that perhaps only used copies were now available. (It’s not the case.) While I waited for a reply, a poked around the page a little more and discovered that there was still an Amazon option for buying the book, further down the page and for more money, where someone who has already seen a $4 deal is probably not going to wander.

Well, that’s bullshit, I thought. My publisher wrote back and said, “it can happen.” Talk about some shrug emoji.

I asked my online writing group about it, and was pointed to this article from Publisher’s Weekly, and then later found this other piece PW did. Apparently it’s a thing you do, Amazon, and apparently it’s not going away.

I asked my publisher what could be done about it, and it’s still radio silence on that front. What can we do about this, Amazon?

Reading more online though, it makes me wonder how this random seller got copies of my books. I have a guess, but haven’t been able to confirm it.

Hundreds of copies of Rings of Anubis were donated by my publisher to a fundraiser built on geeks and their works. Super cheap books for someone — anyone — to buy, to support this charity and their humanitarian efforts around the world. The author sees no royalties from such a donation, or the sales that follow. And people who buy those books can do anything with them, including resell them on Amazon. Is this what happened? I don’t know.

What I do know is, Amazon, I will likely see no income from those copies sold on your platform. Rings of Anubis was not a bestseller; it had no marketing support and no big fanbase; the book has all of 16 reviews in its four years of life. Rings of Anubis is nothing in the scheme of publishing. But it was my debut novel, so means something to me even though it was a failure. It was a story that Apokrupha believed in and wanted to see the conclusion of (book five comes out soon! Book six, the end, is nearly written!).

Amazon, you are engaged in a seriously dishonest business practice and you’re probably cackling because there’s not much I, a super tiny author, can do to change it. But maybe readers can. They can stop supporting your bullshit practices that cut the author out of the equation. They can support their local independent booksellers, who understand that without authors, there are no books.

Fuck you, Amazon. Fuck you for doing this to me and countless others.

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