Is there any way to improve Amazons amateurish accounting?
Posted: July 15, 2011 8:58 PM
I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me but geez! We are supposed to accept Amazons word of what sales we did for what amount they say without any shred of proof. There is no business that is run like this in 2011! I asked that Amazon check into a problem i was having and i was told that if my sales are down i should visit the marketing page. That was a slap in the face. I bust my but marketing writing books night and day for months. Now the prior months royalties are supposed to be available by the 15th of the month and the sales still are not posted. This is bad business. Am i the only one who feels this way? I beg them to look into this matter. My livelihood depends on it! Now I am seeing more and more publishers with the same problem of unexplained dramatic reduction in sales, check it out for yourself.
My sales are down by more then 50% this month. Way down and slow sales. This is the worst month I have ever had. My sales are down by 51%. I have sold 6 books per day for the last 3 months. This month my sales average 2.9 books per day. I complained but I was told to visit the marketing page. I want my sales! It does not make sense my sales would be this bad so soon. I feel cheated or hacked or something. Amazon was no help when I asked them to look into it. What can we do! I want my money!
Regular publishers don't offer proof of sales, either. You have a right in your contract with a regular publisher to undertake an audit AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE of their records to see what the distributors reported to them. If you have evidence of fraud by Amazon or negligent accounting practices, then you could sue them and get discovery at your own expense of their records via the legal process - just as a publisher (which is what you are now) would have to do if they disagreed with the figures Amazon was providing them with.
Obviously, under either scenario, if you found fraud/actionable negligence, the cost of the independent audit could be recoverable under the damages award.
So, there indeed are many businesses run like this in 2011 - they are Amazon,Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books a Million, Simon & Schuster, Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich, Viking, Penguin Group and on and on and on.
If your real beef is their failure to investigate - because they have had system glitches in the past that were not obvious and were only resolved after a publisher asked them to investigate - call support rather than email or re-contact support and explain your concern that it is a systems error - but you should have some foundation for claiming an error other than a drop in sales.
Of course I got the June report and of course the delivery costs vary and don't jive with the actual according to the posting. Of course, they hedge it by saying that the delivery cost and actual revenue is an estimate only, but this month they were off by several pennies. However, if one shaves half a percent to a percent off the delivery costs you can make it balance. There are also instances last month where picking up the daily report was only in terms of number of units and not a complete detail of what sold and what was returned. And I don't like that updates only seem to occur when you're not looking.
As soon as Amazon learns to summarize completely instead of just showing units sold I'll be happy. The monthly is recorded in more detail, and the weekly starts to make a little sense now. The monthly foreign needs to show the actual exchange rate at the time of sale, instead of showing an "average". An average tells me nothing. I need true and accurate numbers.
For exchange rate - I'm guessing they probably have to wait until the charge is fully processed. The customer makes a purchase, a hold of USD 2.99 (or whatever the book costs) is put on the card the customer uses but the final charge isn't completed until the next day and the exchange rate has moved slightly up or down since then. We live very close to the Canadian border and the holds the gas companies (for example) put on a card while the payment is clearing is like 2x the actual purchase!
[i]As soon as Amazon learns to summarize completely instead of just showing units sold I'll be happy.[/i]
I once skied down the Mer de Glace with a French acquaintance who had a terrible time of it. He was wrung out at the end, barely able to stand. I rather stupidly said: What a great run! He said wearily: "If you had a good day, I had a good day, and I am happy."
We've got so much to be happy about. (1) We can up load our books for nothing. (2) We have access to this great forum. (3) We can upload our books when we want. (4) We can get feedback from others. (5) We can all help each other.
I'm sure your sales will improve. If I was selling 2 books a day I'd be happy.
[b][i]If you don't trust the system that allows you to reach your reading public (the hands that feed you) find another. [/i][/b]
Pity this couldn't be pasted at the top of every one of these forums.
(If you think Askthe Community is bad, take a look at Publisher Support on almost any day, especially on the first day of the month when the payments haven't arrived in the bank, and on the 15th when the previous month's report hasn't been posted by one minute past midnight London time.)