A few days ago, I read a post by a writer who was deeply concerned by a message she received from Amazon. It caused her to immediately jump into action to solve the problem before one of her books was stamped with a big yellow warning sticker informing readers the book had issues.
A worst case scenario would be this sticker.
Item Under Review
This title is currently unavailable because customers have told us that there may be something wrong with the description, the content, or the way that the content is displayed.
We’re working with the publisher to fix the problem as quickly as possible. As always, we value customer feedback.
Did I Get the Warning?
I haven’t received a message from Amazon concerning my books, so I might assume they are safe. Although I don’t know if all authors were contacted in one big mail out, so I’ll wait to see if a message shows up on my doorstep.
Although many authors may dread this act by Amazon, in the long run, I believe it will benefit them. eBooks unprofessionally formatted will be removed, making customers more confident with their purchases. It will separate the wheat from the chaff.
This whole business will cause a big stir in the short term, but it will eventually settle once books with issues are corrected and returned to the sale shelf. Self-published authors who have long since abandoned their faulty work will be permanently removed. Others will have to step up their game and either get a professional to format their books or learn how to do it themselves.
Check Those Spelling Errors
One of the issues that surfaced on a few websites is spelling errors. Some are concerned with made-up or unique names and British spelling not passing the test. However, when I upload a book, I review Kindle’s Spell Check and get them to ignore unique spellings. I’ve never had a problem with British spelling, but unique character names do get flagged. I accept them, and my book is declared error free.
I can only assume books flagged for spelling errors are ones not resolved through the Kindle Spell Check.
If memory serves correctly, Kindle Spell Check was added to the publishing page about a year or two ago. So books published before that time have a higher chance of being flagged. Since I update my books each January (see Tuesday’s post), my books have gone through Kindle Spell Check.
The Deadline is Fast Approaching
Authors and publishers of flagged books have until February 3rd to correct the issues. Then one of two things will happen.
If there are a few spelling mistakes and the file is readable, a simple warning will appear on the book’s page, alerting customers to minor issues.
If there are major formatting issues, Amazon will remove the title from their listing until they are corrected.
So What Can You Do?
Watch for that email from Amazon. If you receive it, take immediate action. You have six days to fix the formatting and upload the new file to avoid the ominous February 3rd sticker. It usually takes only 24 hours for the new file to be accepted, but with the possibility of large numbers being uploaded between now and the deadline, plan for 48 hours.
Interior formatting for Kindle takes between one to two hours, depending on the formatting of the original file and the number of chapters. If illustrations are involved, it may take three hours or more.
The price to have a book formatted can be as high as $100. I charge $35 (Canadian) to format a Kindle book. I format books with text only. No illustrations.
Anyone interested in getting their books formatted to meet Amazon’s new conditions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you received notice from Amazon? Or is this the first you’ve heard about the warning stickers?