In this update, I’m covering three recent stories related to Amazon that have implications for authors.
Warning: There is some weird stuff to report. I can’t explain it. I’m just the messenger 🙂
1. Amazon Enables A+ Content for KDP Authors
In the past 30 days, Amazon enabled KDP authors to add “A+ Content” to their book detail pages. Previously, this feature was only available to publishing houses and vendors. It’s another move by Amazon to level the playing field for indie authors.
A+ Content is like adding extra bells and whistles to your detail page in order to make it stand out, grab the reader’s visual attention, and share more information about your book.
According to Amazon, “When you add A+ Content to your detail page, it’s located under the From the Publisher section. While the exact location varies, most readers will need to scroll to view the content.”
To see samples of A+ Content, use the links below to look at one of my books with the information displayed or some of Amazon’s simulated examples:
I’m glad Amazon added this feature for KDP authors, but I wouldn’t call it a game-changer. My books have displayed A+ Content for several weeks, but I haven’t seen a noticeable increase in sales.
It’s a nice bonus feature, but not mandatory to use. Here are the pros and cons:
Pros of A+ Content:
- Good way to show off major endorsements.
- Effective way to highlight other books in a series.
- Useful tool to accent high-quality images for novels, cookbooks, and kids’ books.
- Provide a comparison chart to show differences between books.
Cons of A+ Content:
- Amazon doesn’t guarantee readers will scroll down to see A+ Content.
- Most KDP authors don’t have major endorsements to exhibit.
- Most KDP authors don’t have high-quality graphics to display.
- Most KDP authors don’t write books in a series.
- Amazon doesn’t give clear instructions on image sizes or standards.
I appreciate Amazon’s willingness to help indie authors compete with their traditionally-published brethren. If you’d like to learn more about A+ Content, click on the link below for the details and guidelines:
2. Goodreads Scam Targets Unsuspecting Authors
Writers beware! If you self-published a book and listed it on Goodreads to get reviews, you could be targeted for a new type of online extortion.
Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon, is the largest digital database of book reviewing readers and fans. Most of the engagement is focused on fiction novels versus nonfiction books. But, there are over 120 million worldwide members of the site, who can help drive legitimate word of mouth. But, that doesn’t mean everyone who uses Goodreads is ethical.
According to Time magazine, some authors are getting “review bombed” on Goodreads, which means “a coordinated group, or a few people with multiple accounts, intentionally tank a book’s aggregate rating by posting a flurry of one-star ratings and negative reviews.”
Once the negative reviews go live, the unsuspecting writer receives the following type of message:
“EITHER YOU TAKE CARE OF OUR NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS WITH YOUR WALLET OR WE’LL RUIN YOUR AUTHOR CAREER. PAY US OR DISAPPEAR FROM GOODREADS.”
Sadly, Goodreads has been struggling to control these extortion attempts. The victimized author must typically appeal to their own fans to write extra positive reviews to offset the extortioner’s bombing scheme. However, the company acknowledges the problem and is working to address the issue.
Goodreads encourages any author who is targeted by this scam to contact them at:
Fortunately, this problem does NOT affect Amazon reviews. Amazon’s system is completely different from Goodreads and no issues have arisen thus far.
The moral of this story is to focus on getting more Amazon reviews instead of Goodreads reviews.
3. Amazon to Open Department Stores?!
Want more news of the weird? Rumors abound that Amazon is planning to open physical department stores. Yes, those old buildings where people used to shop.
In an ironic twist, the e-commerce empire that caused many department stores to go bankrupt now wants to set up their own brick-and-mortar locations. Alas, nothing surprises me anymore.
According to The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal, the first Amazon department stores are planned for Ohio and California. The retail spaces will be around 30,000 square feet, which is similar to the size of a typical Best Buy store.
Amazon intends to use their physical locations to focus on the sales of clothing, household items, and electronics. Don’t be surprised if some books are included.
According to RetailWire, Amazon is already the biggest clothing retailer in America, and Walmart isn’t even a close second.
However, managing the cost of customers returns, especially for clothes, is very expensive for Amazon. Finding the right size pants rarely happens on the first order. In addition, it’s hard to buy a new couch or mattress if you can’t sit on it first.
Thus, Amazon has decided that old-fashioned stores are the wave of the future.
Thank you for reading. If more Amazon updates or strange news occur that affects authors, you can count on me to pass it along.