Saturday, October 27, 2018

Amazon

Between print books, Kindle e-books, and Audible audiobooks, these days Amazon accounts for at least 90% of our sales. Although our books are available on plenty of other sites (including our own), the fact remains that if one of our books isn't available on Amazon, it doesn't sell. Which is why we've been frustrated at Amazon repeatedly delisting our books for sale for no reason that we can ascertain.

As a publisher mostly of horror books, October and Halloween-time is one of our busiest periods of the year. This month we put out four great new horror titles; however, one of these, Worms, was unavailable on Amazon US in paperback format for several weeks after its release date, and our new Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume 3, as of this morning could not be ordered either in hardcover or Kindle format. We have no idea why. And we have no control over it. There is literally no way to get a response from a human being at Amazon regarding these problems.

These aren't isolated incidents. For years, our books have been disappearing from sale at random. Sometimes they come back after a few weeks; sometimes they never come back. Even when they are available for order, Amazon seems to do everything they can to discourage customers from ordering them, by listing them as "Temporary out of stock, order now and we'll deliver when available" or "Usually ships within 1-3 months". Both these statements are false: our books are all printed on demand through Ingram, the nation's largest book distributor. They're all available, all the time, and it takes on average a couple days to print and ship them, not 1-3 months.

It's no exaggeration to say that Valancourt Books' existence hinges mostly on the whims of Amazon's glitches and algorithms, not on how good or well-produced our books are.

Recently we've been encouraging people to order direct from us via our website.  We love the chance to interact with customers directly, and we think it's a plus for customers too.  E-books ordered direct from our website are DRM-free, and if you order a print book and have any questions or problems with the order, send us an email and you'll get a quick response from a real, live person (there's two of us here to choose from!) If you want to read them without purchasing them, our books are available in print and e-book to public libraries, and most libraries have a link on their website for you to request a title and are usually pretty responsive to these requests.

We offer shipping to the US and UK starting at $3.99 per order, with orders over $100 shipping free. And in the coming weeks we are going to be discounting books on our website, so that both print and e-books will be cheaper ordered direct from us than if purchased from Amazon. If you haven't already, we encourage you to sign up for our once-monthly email newsletter on the front page of our website so that you'll know about all new & upcoming releases, as well as details of deals and discounts.

Thanks for your support (and Happy Halloween from Ryan and Jay!)

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