UK Self Published Authors Beware

UK self-published authors need to duplicate their ebook promotion

Many new UK self-published authors I have had reason to be in contact with are often unaware that their ebooks that are available on Amazon.co.uk are restricted to UK buyers only.

While it is impossible to notice this if you are in the UK, an ebook’s page on Amazon.co.uk will have the ‘buy button’ removed for all non UK customers, and replaced with the following notice.

UK Self Published Authors 1

Instead of this, which lets buyers, buy!

UK Self Published Authors 2

Almost all retailers use geo-protection

The cause of the notice is because Amazon Stores other than the US store are geo-protected. For UK self published authors, it is absolutely essential to make sure that any ebook buy links posted to social media are using the Amazon.com ebook page link.

While it is inconvenient, it is a matter of making sure that an ebook is made available to buy to as many potential readers as possible. As the US is the biggest market for ebooks, it makes sense to use US links and not UK links. Additionally, Amazon.com links will allow purchases by a whole host of other countries, other than just the US.

But why is this so?

It may have something to do with the history of Amazon UK. Bookpages.co.uk, a UK online book retailer, became Amazon UK on October 15, 1998. So perhaps there was an agreement at that time to keep Amazon UK separate, or maybe on something similar to a franchise basis.

Whatever the reasons, Amazon UK up to today is a very different site from other Amazon ebook Stores. Even to the point that Author Central UK does not link in at all with Amazon Author Central US. Reviews from UK readers are kept separated, and book rankings are calculated and displayed in an entirely different form.

These differences are important for UK self published authors to understand, as negotiating these barriers is the only way to achieve reasonable sales success. While it may seem that ebooks by UK self published authors are available to the world, the truth is that only UK book buyers get a buy button when they visit or stumble across a UK ebook link on social media.

For people outside the UK, it is very doubtful that they will go to the trouble of copying the ebook’s ASIN number and then go to Amazon.com, then paste the number, and then find the ebook.

When the rest of the world finds an Amazon.co.uk link to UK self published authors and their ebooks, it will be a dead end.

My advice to UK self-published authors is to always include two links in any promotional posting. One for the UK, and one for the US, which literally means the rest of the world. But if there is only place for one link, use the US link to Amazon.com, and give your ebook it’s best chance of selling.

This page was last updated on February 16th, 2017

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4 thoughts on “New UK Self Published Authors Beware

  • February 16, 2016 at 9:23 am
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    UK customers get the same message when trying to shop on Amazon.com. The real answer is to use a universal link, which auto-directs to the customer’s domestic site (in theory, although I understand it’s not entirely foolproof) such as http://www.booklinker.net

    Reply
  • January 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm
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    Writers and readers in the UK are not the only ones who suffer under the nationalistic rules of Amazon: same with Canadian, German, French, and customers from practically any other country…
    There are a number of universal links available (one at D2D) that can be used to circumnavigate this issue.
    However, this is not the only problem caused by Amazon’s neglect of the world wide web:
    Only US customers get the full cornucopia of benefits, and writers, readers, and customers in other countries are left out when it comes to purchases, book gifting, gift cards and worst of all: book reviews!
    I just wrote a blog article, listing a number of these challenges for Amazon users in countries outside the US: Amazon vs the Rest of the World
    http://www.savvybookwriters.com/amazon-usa-vs-the-rest-of-the-world/

    Reply

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