How to Get a Large Online Bookstore to (Finally!) Fix Your Book Page By G.R.

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I was SO excited! After two years, I’d finally finished revisions to my newest non-fiction book, and even had scored an interview with a major metropolitan daily. I was all set to promote the new edition to buyers of the first edition, as well as to new readers.

Publication day came. I updated my website, and was ready to roll – except for one hitch. All the online booksellers had posted the image of the second edition’s new cover on their sites – except for BigSeller (you know, the one named for famous women warriors).

I immediately contacted BigSeller (BS), using their automated “update product info” link, requesting that they please post the new cover promptly. Their response? An auto-reply, saying they would look into it. Two weeks passed. Nothing. I wrote again, urging them to update the cover so that those who already bought the first edition would readily see that there is now a second edition to buy.

This time, I got a personal reply saying that the original cover was fine. I knew that BS had received the new info from Ingram (the book distributor that sends an automated feed to the online booksellers) since they had updated the page count for the new edition. It appeared they were just choosing not to upload the new cover.

At this point, I contacted my publisher, who advised me that BS works slowly, and that it could take several weeks to get it right. They suggested I use the “Author Central” feature, but I decided that contract deeded too much control of my work over to BS.

Another month went by. I contacted BS Tech Support two more times, even attaching the cover file. BS’s response? They took down the old cover and put up a blank square: “No image available.”

A customer image of the cover was posted by my publisher – fine if one knew to go directly to the book page. But the new cover image did not show up in a search. It was becoming more evident that BS simply didn’t care to get it right.

Enough! If they didn’t care about the author, what, I wondered, might they care about?

Revenue, of course!

I called BS Customer Service. A pleasant woman answered. I said, “Let me ask you: am I a valued BS customer?” After briefly reviewing my account and purchase history, she hastened to assure me that yes, indeed, BS greatly valued my business. I explained oh-so sweetly and politely that her tech folks were not responsive to my many requests to post the correct cover, and that I no longer would be inclined to do business with a company which does not treat its customers and authors with respect.

She apologized profusely, saying she would look into it, and would I please hold? “Of course,” I said, assuring her that it was not her fault, and that I’d appreciate any help she could provide. Several minutes later, she returned, saying she’d contacted a supervisor, who would contact tech support. I thanked her and ended the call.

Three hours later, I checked again. After getting no satisfaction for almost two months, sometime during that short interval BS managed to find and post the correct cover art!!

Coincidence? I think not.

While complaining might not get results, excruciating politeness – masking an implied threat to take away your business – just might. Let’s hear it both for the power of the almighty dollar, and, as Mom taught, for good manners!

Since even paranoids have real enemies, author GR wishes to remain anonymous, so that her new cover image does not mysteriously disappear. GR is the author of seven non-fiction books – three of which currently appear on BS with the correct covers – and is working on a novel.