by Christine Van Zandt
Last month, Amazon implemented important changes wherein books which appear to have “quality issues” are being flagged. Quality issues include typos, unsupported characters, cover issues, image quality, formatting, links, table errors, duplicated text, missing content, wrong content, content unsuited for reading on Kindle, and disappointing content.
Heated debate has ensued. Is Amazon infringing on our rights and acting like Big Brother? Or, is it about time they enforced restrictions to ensure mostly error-free books? The answer probably depends on whether you’re upset because your book has been flagged, or whether you’re glad that future book purchases will meet basic standards. Either way, the best option is to be informed, so I’m including the language direct from Amazon Kindle to help self-publishing authors better understand what’s happening:
Subject: Amazon Kindle – Important Update Regarding eBook Quality
Hello, Our shared goal is to provide the best digital reading experience for customers on Kindle. When customers contact us with quality issues in a book you published, we validate the issues and send them immediately to you to fix.
Starting February 3, 2016, we will begin showing customers a warning message on the Amazon.com Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. We will remove this message as soon as we receive the fixed file from you and verify the corrections—typically within two business days.
We understand that even with the best quality controls, defects sometimes make it through. That’s why we’ve limited this messaging to books with several issues. Books with more serious quality issues will continue to be suppressed from sale.
We previously notified you that customers have reported quality issues for the following book, and we confirmed that the issues are present in your file.
Before the warning message appears, we would like to work with you to ensure these issues are fixed. After you’ve made the corrections, please upload your revised content through the “Book Content” section in your KDP Bookshelf and republish it by clicking “Save and Publish” so that we can verify the corrections and prevent the warning message from being displayed on your book’s detail page.
We understand you may have questions about this feature, so we’ve included some answers to common questions below. If you have further questions, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How will I know if my book has the quality warning? We will notify you in an email that includes the list of issues reported by the customer along any other issues discovered when we confirmed the customer’s complaint.
2. Will my content still be for sale? Yes. We currently suppress titles for sale that either have critical issues or a large number of non-critical issues, and we will continue to do so. This quality warning message is for titles that have several non-critical issues.
3. What will customers see? Customers will see the feature near the top of the detail page next to the star ratings. A small warning icon will appear with hover text providing basic detail about the issues found in the book.
4. How do I remove the quality warning? You can remove the quality warning by fixing all the issues listed in our email and resubmitting the fixed content. Please start by making corrections using the details we’ve provided you. We also recommend searching for similar defects so that there are no issues for other customers to report in the future. We will remove the quality warning within 2 business days when we’ve confirmed the issues are fixed. If issues remain, we will notify you within 2 business days of when you submitted the content.
5. What if a reported issue was an editorial choice? We respect author intent. If the reading experience is as you intended, please contact us immediately.
To learn more about specific book errors and why some errors are more critical than others, please visit the Guide to Kindle Content Quality Errors.