Have you noticed that a book you’re interested in (either because you wrote it, or because you would like to read it) appears with the note ‘ships in 1-3 weeks’? This reduced availability is not only annoying--but particularly puzzling: on the Barnes & Noble website, the same book appears as ‘in stock’ and somehow, it is available for immediate shipping!
Lately it seems that Amazon let its stock of books supplied by publishers and printing houses other their own CreateSpace dwindle down. I could see this happen to my own novel, Apart From Love, even though my contract with my printing house ensures a quick shipping schedule, as fast as a day or two from the time an order is placed. The immediate availability of the book on Barnes & Noble proves that the printing house keeps its word. The problem, then, is a change in Amazon order strategy.
In the past, books out-of-stock at Amazon were listed with an availability status of 1–2 days, based on Amazon’s practice of having them drop shipped on their behalf from the printing house directly to the customer. But apparently, Amazon no longer considers its drop shipping arrangement economically worthwhile.
If you are a writer, you may be wishing this is merely a glitch. I would love to join you in entertaining this hope. Two months ago, I sent an inquiry about this to my printing house and received the following reply, explaining the two methods of making books available to Amazon:
Recently, Amazon has made more changes than we typically see in their shopping logic and stocking strategies between method one, where Lightning Source drop-ships, and method two, where Amazon stocks the title in their distribution centers. This change in sourcing methods has resulted in a very small number of Lightning Source titles moving to a longer availability status, sometimes as long as two to three weeks. As we learn about these changes, we are working with Amazon to quickly adjust the availability back to 24 hours, but this takes time. We are working to improve availability of your titles on Amazon and truly appreciate you letting us know of the issue. The more information we have from our publishers, the more effective we can be as we communicate with Amazon.
Meanwhile, my inquiry to Amazon resulted in no response.
I will dedicate another post to a fuller explanation of this problem. In it I will brainstorm with you a number of ways to deal with it. For now, I am just curious if you have experienced this problem. Have you done anything about it? What were the results?