Amazon KDP Terminates Author’s Account, Seizes Over $1,500 in Royalties for Unspecified Reasons

Kindle Account Review Team refuses to answer questions related to the specific violation.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

It’s every author’s nightmare and the kind of thing that authors have been talking about in author groups for several years: the capricious and unexpected closure of an author’s publishing account. It’s one of those things you pray never happens to you. But this weekend, it did happen to me.

This author has been publishing books on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for over five years. Despite diligently following Amazon guidelines, my author account was closed without warning, and over $1,500 in previously earned royalties were seized by the multi-billion dollar company.

On 9/10/22 I received a message from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) saying that they were immediately terminating my account for a “misleading customer experience”. I immediately wrote back protesting the termination and asking what was “misleading”.

Twenty-four hours later they responded that they’ve reviewed my appeal and reiterated that they were terminating my account due to a“misleading experience” as per content guidelines.

They did not specify what the “misleading experience” is, nor did they give me the opportunity to dispute whatever it is that they are concerned about.

For the record, content guidelines say no plagiarism, no duplicate content, no unlicensed images, no putting books in the wrong categories, no keyword stuffing, etc.

None of this is true. The book they referenced is a new release and not in Kinde Unlimited (KDP Select, which requires exclusivity). The book has licensed images and contains my original copyrighted intellectual property. There’s nothing in the book that goes against Amazon’s terms of service, and had no issues on any other online bookstore.

As of right now, all of my books — more than 50 books in three pen names — have been taken down from Amazon without warning. Also, the company is withholding all of my royalty payments for the last 2 months (Amazon pays authors 2 months behind), which I’ve estimated to be over $1,500.

The “KDP Content Review Team” is refusing to tell me exactly what they think I did wrong so I can defend myself and show them that I am, in fact, in compliance with their terms.

I’m sorry to say I am not unique here. Many, many authors have had their accounts suspended because Amazon bots think they did something wrong when they did not. The good news is that some authors have been able to have the decision reversed, but with time and a lot of aggravation and lost revenue.

I’ll keep fighting, but I won’t lie, I am completely devastated by this capricious and unfounded decision by Amazon to terminate my account, withhold (some might say “steal”) my previous earnings, and impact my future livelihood.

What you can do to help:

1. Buy my books on other retailers who haven’t unilaterally destroyed authors' careers. Many of my books are available on the retailers below (click the links to go to the page):

a. GooglePlay

b. Apple iBooks

c. Kobo

d. Scribd

e. Other bookstores

2. If you know an actual person in Amazon or Kindle Direct Publishing, please connect me with them. I feel confident that if someone actually told me what the review team “thinks” is wrong with my book, I can provide them with information to the contrary.

3. Contact Amazon through their customer service function and let them know that you are upset that they terminated an author with no chance to know what the issue was, and demand that they reinstate my account.

4. Share this information far and wide, tagging @Amazon and @AmazonKDP.

I’m hopeful with the help of readers, authors, and the public, we can make a change in Amazon’s behavior. No one should have their livelihood taken away and royalties seized without clear and definitive proof of a violation and the chance to respond to any allegations.

#AmazonKDP #Amazon #author #selfpublishing #authorrosebak

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Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance writer and yoga teacher who lives in Oregon. Find her at https://linktr.ee/rosebak or follow @authorrosebak on social media.