Dear aerospace / aviation pursuers and learners (and all others impacted by books that I have produced or published on your behalf), I have regretful and uncomfortable news to share. Yesterday, on. May 25th, 2021, I was sent an email from Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) that began like this:
We are terminating your account effective immediately because we identified the submission of content for which you do not have the necessary rights.
The book they referenced was a blank lined notebook that I published in December 2020. No copyright or ownership issues are possible there. The title and cover art was a “fandom” reference to a popular video game.
I took several steps to ensure that I complied with fair use and use of materials allowed for commercial purposes. Apparently I had a quality failure in that process.
Amazingly, Amazon didn’t seem to consider the context of this rare failure (I’ve published dozens of books since How To Be a Rocket Scientist in 2014) or the need to give me any chance for resolving this issue. The email continued with this:
As part of the termination process:
• We will close your account
• You’re no longer eligible to receive any outstanding royalties
• You’ll no longer have access to your accounts. This includes, editing your titles, viewing your reports and accessing any other information within your account
• All of your published titles will be removed from sale on Amazon
Additionally, as per our Terms and Conditions, you aren’t allowed to open any new KDP accounts.
My first reaction was that this must be a hacker. Where is the ransom request to undo the damage?!
But unfortunately, this was real. You won’t be able to find my book (or any others I’ve published for myself – or for other people) on Amazon at this time.
This was their first notice to me of any issue or concern with the book referenced in the email. They did not reference any other notice or any existing concern with my account, such as already being under probation or review. So this is a “first strike” as far as I understand. And they went immediately to the “nuclear” response.
I am doing my best to work through the appeal process for KDP publishers but it is not a transparent or customer-friendly process. It is replying to their emails to try and keep the conversation going. There is no phone support for KDP self publishing. No live web chat. No published appeal process.
I will do my best to keep my readers and fans updated. Until then, I hope everyone who wanted to learn about or be inspired by aerospace, aviation, engineering, innovation, other STEM topics through various nonfiction books or children’s activity books were able to get those books while you could. I will be working as passionately and fiercely as I can to work through the appeal process with Amazon, restore my account back to good standing, and continue to make our world a better place through books. With or without Amazon’s self-publishing services.