Passive Guy has received several emails regarding missing buy buttons on Amazon for books published by various Big 6 publishers.
He’s checked, but doesn’t see this.
Does anybody know anything?
There were press notes on Twitter about it, Amazon said it was technical glitch, only seemed to affect US not UK for example. They were working on it.
There was a glitch, it is being fixed.
I got a bit of a laugh out of that last night. Everything seems to be working now, but last night most titles I looked at showed up as “Not currently available” or “Not available for customers from Canada” (I’m in Canada, hence the message). I got a screenshot of the latter message for a book I purchased in June.
I was in information technology for 26 years. I know of no kind of “technical glitch” that would so narrowly target a group of books unless it was specifically programmed to do so. It may have an On/Off switch, but the fact that it even exists should be a telling one. It specifically hit Kindle editions from the Big 5/6 and all their imprints. For a few minutes I could have sworn it hit paper versions, but it was late and perhaps I was seeing things. But definately zapped the buy buttons on Kindle versions. It specified the book was not available in the US, and that no pricing information was available.
What evidence do you have that no other ebooks were hit by it?
Can’t find the article at the moment, but a random look on my own at friends pubbed with Sourcebooks, Harlequin, and Soho showed them to be fine. Friends with Berkely, not fine. There were lots of people researching this when it hit last night.
Uh, it wasn’t a narrow glitch; it impacted all agency titles. And that right there points at their back-end database. It is easy to imagine their web site composing pages on the fly by extracting data from a database (pretty much everybody runs their ecommerce sites that way) so if the database got corrupted the entire field designating the books’ agency status could have been switched to not-available. And if the datastore got corrupted that way, they would have to revert to an earlier version of merge from the earlier version as well as find out how the db file got corrupted. (Maybe a HD failure? A stray cosmic ray?) And that is just one way it could have happened. Stuff happens, no need for paranoid fantasies…
HarperCollins is no longer agency priced and Amazon is currently setting the price for their titles, so it had to go beyond the theory that it was only agency priced books.
I encountered this last night, when I was looking for Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” on Kindle. The page said “Pricing information not available.” At $14.99, though, Harper Collins might have been better off with the secret…
Might have affected books with geographic restrictions?
Were I an evil version of Jeff Bezos, I might do this on purpose to send a message. Just a little warning of what could happen, and how quickly.
It is still happening. I just went to Amazon’s site and did a search for a new HarperCollins release called “Desperate Sons”. This link shows the ebook for $11.89:
But this link shows it as unavailable:
Notice that the links show two different ASINs. That second link eventually refreshed to the unavailable link. This is a pretty bad screw-up.
People on the Kindle boards have been complaining about errors in reports since September. I wasn’t able to pull reports this morning. And my “Past 6 weeks” report shows different numbers for November than my November report. Odd. Something is definitely in the works.
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