“I revised my book but people can still buy the previous version on Amazon! Why?!”

“I revised my book but people can still buy the previous version on Amazon! Why?!”


Hello Angela,

My book is print on demand and I recently revised the interior and the cover. It’s now for sale once again. Since I only made a few minor changes, I opted not to change the ISBN, nor to label is at “second edition.”

I just hired a publicist to try to promote my book. Here is my big problem. Somebody ordered the book and they got the first edition with the old cover. Why? And, how can I stop Amazon from selling copies of the previous version?



If Amazon (or any retailer) already has a copy of your book on their shelves, they can legally sell it because they already purchased it.

For authors in these circumstances, I recommend finding out how many copies Amazon still has, and ordering them yourself to get those off the market. It’s usually just a handful of copies.

If you’re having a hard time finding the original listing on Amazon, search for just the ISBN. That usually works.

Have a question about writing or publishing? Ask Angela.



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2 Responses to "“I revised my book but people can still buy the previous version on Amazon! Why?!”"

  1. jedidiah manowitz  May 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Just me, but I would have used a new ISBN and called it second edition if amazon selling previous printings is such a big deal to you.

    As far as the world is concerned there is only one book with that ISBN and they are equivalent in spite of minor changes and amazon will keep selling the stock they have.

    Actually amazon can legally keep selling any version they purchased for resale even if you did use a new ISBN. Assuming that they can get copies of the earlier version at all.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  May 17, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      If an author wants to republish under a new ISBN, they need to re-name the book as well. Most book buying customers won’t search using an ISBN. They’ll search for the book’s title instead.