We produced new paperback editions of The Serpent and the Cross, Shadows Washed in Blood, Room 39: And the Cornish Legacy, and From the Foam of the Sea. Three of them also as e-books, we did have some glitches with this but overcame them. The covers were produced with KDP’s Cover Creator although we used our own images. All went well, ordered the Proof Copies which soon turned up ‘Printed in Great Britain by Amazon’. There were some corrections needed but nothing too drastic.
Now I have to be fair my experience using Amazon KDP to self publish with the first four books has been on the whole pretty good.
Then we came to book number five Memories and Echoes: A Brit’s Journey into the American Civil War. A much bigger undertaking, a non-fiction book, with thirty plus illustrations, notes and an index, over 90,000 words. Yet everything went pretty much without a hitch always a bit of a concern when you upload the manuscript that it will be rejected but no ‘manuscript loaded successfully.’ We even managed to produce a fairly good cover with the Cover Creator. We had already decided to publish in hardback. This was to prove a mistake in the UK but we had no way of knowing that.
Thus everything appeared fine until we requested a ‘Proof Copy’ to find we could not order it from the UK, we could get it from the USA. Were they joking? The postage was prohibitive. Then we were told we could order a proof copy from any of the European branches of Amazon. We tried France no good. Then Germany, after some batting the request backward and forward a senior manager had to get involved, all this with no help from KDP Support who generally are far too slow anyway. We did get a proof copy and it arrived pretty quickly. What was interesting was it was ‘Printed in Poland by Amazon Fulfilment 2 August 2023.’ So it was ordered in Germany and Printed in Poland. Maybe this should have started alarm bells ringing but it did not.
So we approved the book and it went live only to find after a long series of E-mails with KDP Support that the hardback would not be available in the UK. At no point in the publishing process were we ever told this. And the only way we found out was on the KDP Community with stories of wow going back years about trying to produce hardback books on Amazon KDP in the UK. All the dross from KDP Support about the ‘Technical Team’ looking into it was quite frankly rubbish.
We did manage to get an order of H/B books for my own customers through Germany and Poland which arrived in reasonable time, but one was damaged, and to get a replacement we had to get hold of senior management again. More strings of e-mails.
Bear with it we are almost up to date. Exasperated that the book was not available in the UK I asked KDP Support if I brought it out in paperback would it be for sale in the UK ‘Yes this would be no problem’ famous last words.
Thus we made a few corrections from the H/B and slightly changed the cover nothing too drastic. All uploaded no problems we hit the ‘Order a Proof Copy’ button it accepted the order a link would be with me within four hours to order the book. Nothing arrived tried two more times same result on to KDP Support string of E-mails. You have guessed it, the ‘Technical Team’ are looking into it, should be ‘2-3 days.’ That was four days ago I get another E-mail from a Senior Manager saying; ‘Please note that our teams are doing their due diligence to ensure the issue is resolved’ and that I should hear ‘within the week.’ More time lost. Well, I will give them their due within three days the link to buy the ‘Proof Copy’ did appear in my e-mails along with eight others! I duly ordered one which took a week to arrive a bit long I thought but at least it was here and everything was OK with the few corrections we had made from the Hardback. However I was amazed to find this one was printed in Italy!
The sage of the Hardback goes on I got another E-mail from Amazon with a delivery date of 30 January 2024. I wonder where this one is coming from, given it was ordered on 5 September 2023 somewhere in Europe as sold by: Amazon EU S.a.r.L.
So the simple truth of this saga is don’t publish hardbacks with KDP Amazon UK unless you want to tear your hair out, a pity because the hardback product is very good. Unless eventually in the fullness of time the ‘Technical Team’ sorts it out but I would not hold your breath.