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The Wrong File Got Sent Out on Amazon – Now What?

We’ve all dealt with glitches on different retailers.  Occasionally, Google Play temporarily eats sections of books.  B&N Nook sometimes corrupts files.  And on Amazon, books sometimes get oddly combined or an old, wrong file is sent out.

If there’s a wrong book purchased on most platforms, simply changing the file gives people access to the new one.  For example, Google Play even updates covers on old purchases!

On Amazon, however, the system remembers exactly what file is delivered with a purchase, and not only is it not updated when new files are added, it won’t even let the customer return the file and get a newer one, either through the backend or through a return and repurchase.

Worse, informing Amazon that there’s a problem causes customer service to lock down all files associated with the book, which causes MORE people to get the bad file! So a small problem at times can unroll into a weeks-long nightmare for authors and readers while the bad file is locked in and the good file isn’t available even to new purchasers.

A good approach to addressing the issue needs to do several things.

  • It needs to make sure that new buyers get the good file ASAP.
  • It needs to give old buyers in contact with you access to the good file ASAP.
  • It needs to give old buyers who aren’t in contact with you or might not have even opened the book and noticed a problem the ability to access the good book later on.

To do these things, you have to have a functional account with your files out of lock-down until point one and two are addressed.  So when you discover a huge problem, immediately upload a replacement file as soon as you can AND make a second, nearly-identical book and upload the file there, too.  Tweak the title and author so that Amazon won’t put the files on top of one another and so you get a new ASIN.

As soon as those two books are live, new buyers of the original will get the right book. Point one, solved!

Direct buyers of the messed up file to return their book and buy the near-identical one instead.  Because it has a different ASIN, they’ll get the right file.  Point tow, solved!

THEN inform Amazon of the mistake and request that all the buyers of the old book are notified and given a chance to replace their old book.  Amazon will lock down your book while they investigate, but now they’re looking down the RIGHT file, not the wrong one.

After the 5-day return period for the buyers of the old book is up, unpublish the duplicate book.  Now the people who still have the wrong file will get access to the new one in 2 to 7 more days when Amazon approves offering it to them, but everyone will eventually get it, and the people who really wanted to read your book immediately got it through your near-identical copy instead of getting stuck with a bad one for 1-2 weeks.

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