Screwed by


Ever since began I have been an ardent supporter as a customer.  Fast, efficient, limitless titles, easy shopping experience.  I purchase all my books through Amazon, and even some non-book items.  I am an Amazon Prime member. They seem to be moving quickly to become the world’s largest retailer.

However, now I have the experience of being an Amazon supplier and not a customer.  Based on my current experience of trying to sell my book, FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution, through Amazon, they seem to favour the customer over the supplier.

My big problem with is this:  I have written a book, like many people out Fastbreak 2there, and want to sell it on Amazon, because it is THE world-wide market place for books.  I have agreed to all the terms of how much of the book price ($15.00) Amazon gets and how much I get.  Not even half, but who cares, it is distribution we authors are looking for.  I fill out all the forms, try to figure out which of the several Amazon seller programs is the right one for me, register, upload all the information, even spend $600 sending inventory to two different Amazon fulfilment warehouses in the US (I live in the UK and my book was printed in the UK), only to find that I am now competing with Amazon as to who sells the books!

I don’t get it.  They have this term called, Big Box, which is not explained anywhere, but after a dozen emails and finally a call with a live “customer representative”, I learn that Amazon competes with the vendor for who gets to sell the book!  As a result, since I am the smaller party, and on the Amazon site for my book it lists, in bold, RED print, that the item is currently out of stock (but there are 119 copies in their warehouse!) and in very small print off to the side it says it is available from another source (which happens to be me, but also fulfilled by Amazon)!

What the hell is going on?  Here is the current Amazon page for my book.  What does this communicate to you, a first time buyer?  If you are like most people, all you see is the big RED “Temporarily Out of Stock”, and you stop searching.  Even though in small print it says there are two copies available (when in actuality there are 119 in the warehouse waiting to be shipped) as another buying option.

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After half an hour on the phone with the very friendly (but totally unempowered)  “customer service person”, he has no solution to offer other than try a different Amazon seller program!

To say I am upset is an understatement.  Independent authors just want is sell their work and let the world decide if it has value. That’s the value of Amazon.  We should not be competing with Amazon, they should be helping us sell out work, since they make money on every sale.

If someone out there in the blogosphere has some insight into this dilemma or have had a similar experience, resolved or not, I would like to hear about it. Am I missing something?

Being the biggest retailer of books on the planet is good, but not if they compete with those who provide the content; what good it that?

One frustrated Amazon supplier, and former Amazon fan!

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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4 Responses to Screwed by

  1. John, I certainly understand your frustration, although in a lighter vein it does give the impression that the book is selling well 🙂


  2. Raunak says:

    John, this is unfortunate! Hope Amazon resolves this crap soon.


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