Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More on Amazon

Like many booksellers I legitimately use the 'update product info' button to correct errors in Amazon's catalogue. This is important because it stops customers being disappointed by the wrong edition, a hardback instead of a paperback, an edition by a different publisher etc. Sometimes author's names are not as they appear on the book, or as they are known, and this needs correcting. Last night I corrected four books. For the first time ever one of my updates was refused. The stock email from Amazon was:

Thank you for using the Catalog Update Form to send suggestions
At this time we cannot accept the correction you have submitted for one of the following reasons: - Could not verify - Incorrectly formatted - Provided URL did not confirm - Some data on high-profile items is not editable

So what contentious aspect did I try to change? Well they had the author's first name as 'editor'. It is actually Allan but 'editor' is not even likely. Clearly they have gone from letting whole sale rubbish through as changes which amounted to vandalism, to banning changes which anyone with any commonsense about books must see was right. Why can't changes be reviewed by a human? If that is too expensive how about authorising those with merchant accounts to make changes as merchants can be more easily dealt with by Amazon if they misused the system.

As I have been writing this another of my updates has been refused for a book with only one edition and one publisher but Amazon list the wrong publisher. My correction is declined for the same generic reasons above.

My advice to Amazon buyers would be that if it is really important to you to have a particular edition, or format, or illustrator, or any other variable, then use the enquire facility to check with the seller before ordering. They have the book in front of them and can tell you exactly what it is.

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