Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Nightmare Of Amazonian Scale

Available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble. Not Amazon in the US
Newcastlewest Books is preparing for the launch of our newest release, and as usual the bookselling sites online pick up our information from Bowker's catalogue.

It's all quite neat and tidy. We assign an ISBN, fill in the pertinent information, and the next thing you know it's popping up where it should. MERCY FIRST AND LAST, a brilliant piece of historical fiction, will drop on the 213th anniversary of Robert Emmet's death.

That Robert Emmet, yes, the hero of Ireland, whose adoration of Sarah Curran spelled his doom.

MERCY FIRST AND LAST is Sarah's story, and what a story it is. A fascinating family riddled with dysfunction, tragedy and sorrow, and to follow Sarah Curran through it all is the stuff that keeps a reader turning the pages.

At any rate, the page at showed the novel as available for pre-order, shipping 20 September 2016. So what better thing to do than submit the usual file that allows a potential buyer to sample the opening pages and peruse the covers? Done and done.

Then the book suddenly became unavailable, with an unknown date of availability in the United States, our largest market. Why, Amazon, why did the book abruptly lose an important and critical element? Pre-orders are key to generating buzz, especially with reviews appearing prior to the book being laid down. It's how publishing works.

Except when it's Amazon, apparently.

After several tries to get someone to help, and getting a response back that claimed I was trying to cancel a debit card (amazing, right?), someone at the Seller Support Center got back to me, all the way from India where English is not a first language.

Greetings from Amazon Seller Support,

Thank you for contacting us.

I understand your concern is regarding for PER-ORDER for ASIN:0996713123 which is available on the UK site. I have checked using our tools and found that this book is still not releases on site.

In researching ASIN: 0996713123, I see that this Books item is listed with a release date of September 20, 2016. This item is currently ineligible for listing on

Delayed shipment or pre-sales of Books, Music, Video or DVD products are not allowed on All items offered for sale in these categories must be shipped within two business days of the date the order confirmation is made available to you.

Really? Does this make the least bit of sense, considering the fact that previous Newcastlewest Books titles were available for pre-sale prior to the official sale date?

Of course it doesn't. But wait, there's more. I had the audacity to point out that the book is available for pre-order in every other country around the globe, and it would be helpful if the US of A was part of that book-selling world order. The cheek of me, to dare to make the comparison.

 I would also like to inform you that, on Amazon, sellers should not list or match against Books, Music, Video, or DVD products that Amazon designates as pre-orderable. BMVD Products offered through Amazon must be shipped within two business days of the date the order confirmation is made available to you.

So we've reached an impasse. Amazon has failed spectacularly, and their staff at the Seller Support Center can do nothing more than rattle off a set piece.

Looking to pre-order MERCY FIRST AND LAST? You can find it anywhere books are sold (like Waterstones, Amazon in CanadaAmazon in the UK and Ireland,,  available for pre-order everywhere except

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