Warning Messages for Errors in Amazon Kindle e-Books

Quality Control Amazon


This rumor has been going around for a week or so. When I first saw this rumor, my first thoughts were:

  • Where is the PROOF?
  • Why hasn’t Amazon provided any information about this?
  • Let’s get more information, preferably from Amazon itself, before we PANIC and WORRY.

This morning I learned that Amazon HAS provided much updated information about quality issues, right on their KDP help pages:

Click here to view the KDP help page describing error messages.


A few quotes from this KDP help page are quite illuminating.

This new quote appearing on the KDP help page provides evidence that, in some cases, Amazon will, in fact, post error messages on the product page:

“A moderate amount of Distracting or Destructive Issues can result in the book remaining available for sale, but with a temporary quality warning displayed on the detail page of the book on Amazon.com until corrections are made.”

The KDP help page includes this quote in the opening paragraph:

  • “If readers tell us about a problem they’ve found in your book, we will make sure you know about it.”
  • So we see that Amazon will be contacting authors/publishers to notify them about problems that readers have reported.

Note that the same sentence also ends by saying that Amazon will “point you in the right direction to get the problem fixed.” This suggests that there won’t be instant action, but that Amazon KDP will contact the author/publisher, giving the author/publisher a chance to resolve the problem.

But if the author/publisher doesn’t resolve the problem, here is the worst-case scenario, also quoted from the KDP help page:

  • “Because Critical Issues significantly impact the reading experience, any Critical Issue will result in the book being removed from sale until the correction is made.”
  • This quote specifically refers to Critical Issues, as determined by Amazon.
  • Authors/publishers will want to communicate with Amazon and work to resolve any issues to Amazon’s satisfaction to avoid CFQI (customers facing quality issues) notices and to avoid having the book removed from sale.
  • Authors/publishers will also want to ensure that formatting, spelling, and grammar are correct before publishing.

I know there is much concern among authors regarding SPELLING mistakes. Take some comfort in this quote from the KDP help page:

  • “Sometimes improper or dialectic spellings are intentionally used by the author. These are not considered errors. Common examples would include character dialogue. Spelling differences which occur between US and British English are not considered errors.”
  • So we shouldn’t be worried about spelling differences between the US and the UK.
  • And we shouldn’t be worried about made-up names.
  • Note that it doesn’t say that a few typos will be considered a Critical Issue. Maybe there are, and maybe there aren’t, cases where typos may be considered a Critical Issue. But the help page doesn’t clarify this. It is clear that Amazon wants you to correct any known typos. But the help page doesn’t spell out exactly what the consequences will be for not fixing them. (Maybe a customers-facing-quality-issues notice. But that’s just speculation right now.)

Here is a sample of the kinds of errors that Amazon is looking at:

  • typos
  • unsupported characters
  • image quality (like unreadable text)
  • table issues (like content that goes off the page on some devices)
  • links (like those that don’t function properly)
  • even “disappointing content” is on the list
  • see the complete list here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A1MMQ0JHRBEINX


This KDP help page doesn’t say:

  • that any notices will be posted on the product page (that could happen; it just isn’t mentioned on the help page at this point)
  • except for Critical Issues, what will happen (e.g. if there are a few typos, it doesn’t outline exactly what will or won’t happen)
  • whether or not things like typos can be construed as Critical Issues (maybe they can, maybe not; the help page does mention a few specific Critical Issues, but doesn’t clarify this with regard to spelling)

Will they post error messages on the product page? Under what circumstances will they do this? Under what conditions will they remove a book from sale?

This remains to be seen to some extent. It does state that Critical Issues will result in taking down the book until the issues are resolved. But otherwise, we are left to speculate.

It seems reasonable that Amazon would first contact the author/publisher, allow a reasonable period for the issues to be resolved, and allow for a possible response with a detailed explanation.

A few authors have reported receiving emails from Amazon regarding spelling mistakes. We know that Amazon has sent emails about spelling mistakes for the past few years, but a few authors who have received them recently seem to make it look like the nature of the email has changed recently. But I guess we won’t know for sure until (A) Amazon announces such a change publicly or (B) we happen to receive one of those emails.


Don’t panic yet over all the worst-case scenarios that might pop into your head.

Let’s see how it goes first.

If you’re a UK writer and you’re worried about American readers complaining about differences in spelling (and vocabulary), you shouldn’t be. It says very clearly on the KDP help page that these aren’t considered spelling errors.

If you’re a fantasy author and you’re worried about made-up names for monsters you’ve created, at this point I see no reason for you to panic.

This probably isn’t the same thing as the list of possible spelling mistakes that you receive when you upload your content file. Maybe Amazon will use an automated spellchecker to aid in their assessment, but it won’t be purely automated: The KDP help page specifically refers to mistakes that “readers tell us about,” so readers will be involved to an extent.

It also appears that a human being will be involved from Amazon’s end, to verify the issues and to send an email notification to the author/publisher.

Sure, a human being can misinterpret something. But it won’t do any good to panic now. Let’s not think of all the ways that a human being might misinterpret an author’s intentions.

How many typos is too many? Does it really matter if it’s 5, 15, or 25 typos in 50,000 words?

If Amazon discovers and verifies that there are mistakes in your book, why wouldn’t you fix them? Every typo that gets fixed benefits readers…


The benefits are clear:

  • Improve customer satisfaction.
  • Improve the perception of Kindle e-books.
  • Improve the self-publishing brand.

In comparison, I think the “bad” may seem relatively minor:

  • In most cases, it just causes a minor inconvenience to the author to make the changes and resubmit.
  • In rare cases, it might be more involved. For example, a richly formatted book created from a PDF using the Kindle Textbook Creator might require more work to fix a few typos.
  • If an author shelled out big $$ for professional e-book conversion and just has a .mobi or epub file to work with, it might not be so easy to fix a few typos. It depends: Some professional formatters are quite reasonable and oriented around author satisfaction.
  • There is possible abuse, but I think overall Amazon will be reasonable. Amazon’s goal is clearly to improve customer satisfaction, but without significantly disrupting the authors who supply valuable content.

Realize that we don’t know all the details yet.

Right now, what we know from Amazon is posted on this KDP help page, and it doesn’t answer every question that we might have.

And some of the rumors out there include details that aren’t addressed on that KDP help page.

It seems reasonable that (except for Critical Issues) Amazon KDP would first notify the author/publisher of the issue, and give the author/publisher a reasonable chance to correct the problem before taking any drastic action.

The customer is paying money for Kindle e-books, and we all want the customers to have positive reading experiences that encourage them to read more Kindle e-books.

And as readers ourselves, we want to have positive reading experiences when we read Kindle e-books.

That seems like a reasonable goal, and I expect Amazon to be reasonable in helping authors reach that goal.


Find out which email address you have associated with your KDP publishing account. Monitor this email address. Periodically check that you’re not missing important emails in your SPAM filter. If any of your books have quality issues, you should expect to hear something from Amazon KDP.

Periodically check the KDP community forum, Kindle Boards, or another place where authors often share their experiences. This way, you might learn from the experience of any other authors who deal with quality notices from Amazon KDP.

Don’t worry about the what-if’s. Focus on writing and marketing. Try to write, format, and publish the best book you can.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Click here to view my Goodreads author page.

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


Click here to jump to the comments section.

Looking for Math & Science Books for Kindle Unlimited

Math Science


I have published some math and science e-books which are available through Kindle Unlimited. In fact, all of my Kindle e-books can presently be borrowed for free through Kindle Unlimited.

But I’m looking for more books. I’d like to add a page to my website featuring math and science books on Kindle Unlimited, and not just my own books.

It seems like this may be helpful for Kindle Unlimited subscribers looking for math and science e-books they can borrow for free.

And it seems like it might provide a little exposure for authors of math and science books enrolled in KDP Select.

Are you an author of a math or science book that’s in Kindle Unlimited? If so, please leave a comment and include a link to your book (or at least provide the ASIN, or the title and author name, so that I can easily find it). Or you can use the Contact Me button on my blog if you prefer.

I’d love to hear from fellow math and science authors in Kindle Unlimited, and include information about your books on my website.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


Click here to jump to the comments section.

Does Front and Back Matter Matter?


Front & Back Matter

Here are some points to consider when preparing the front and back matter for your self-published book:

  • Back matter can get in the way of an important page in your e-book. The very end encourages the customer to review the book.
  • Include your blog and social media url’s on your author page (with hyperlinks for your Kindle e-book). Add a note that gives readers a reason to visit your sites (e.g. free interactive map).
  • Series authors can include a short sample of the next volume at the end of each book.
  • A reader might close the Look Inside, bored with a prologue, never reaching Chapter 1, which might grab attention better. Ask yourself if you really need that prologue.
  • Use the table of contents wisely. Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. is a wasted opportunity. Create short names that catch interest for fiction or that reveal content for nonfiction.
  • The more front matter you add, the longer it takes to reach Chapter 1. Ask yourself which sections you really need.
  • Short e-books might have very little writing sample to offer if there is much front matter.
  • If there is virtually no front matter, that might seem odd to the customer. Didn’t the author use other books as models?
  • Front matter must look professional to make a good impression. Nobody studies a copyright page, but when they pass by, if it doesn’t look right, it leaves an impression.
  • Publishers lead off with all kinds of too-good-to-be-true quotes. This might have merit from a well-known source, not necessarily otherwise (though they could—it really pays to know your target audience well).
  • Arguably, the most important part of the book is in Chapter 1. Come out punching with your best stuff. Unfortunately, a slow build can cost new readers. Make it easy to reach the first chapter.
  • You don’t have to have the exact same front and back matter in both your print book and e-book. An index, for example, isn’t necessary in an e-book, which doesn’t have page numbers for one, and where customers can simply search for keywords for another.
  • At CreateSpace, page number is a consideration. It can affect whether or not you can use spine text (minimum 102 pages, 130 recommended), the minimum inside margin, or how much the book costs to produce. Every page you add costs you money (unless you have fewer than 24 pages for color or 102 pages for black and white). So think about what front and back matter you really need. But if you’re between 100 and 130 pages, extra pages help you with better spine text potential. If you may be selling copies in person or to bookstores, you want front matter that looks professional and helps sell the book; and you don’t want to be missing sections that they expect to see.
  • Something cool in the front matter can attract attention, if done right. It could be a nontrivial effect with formatting or professional design marks, for example, but it has to look like it belongs there. For an e-book, add a short GIF image (important with text, since the background may not be white) with a publisher logo beside a few lines of text. You ordinarily see images below and above text, not wrapped beside it, so it could be that professional touch that makes the difference. See my example below (the logo was designed by Melissa Stevens).

Math Fluency

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


Click here to jump to the comments section:


Good News for Indie Authors

Good News

July, 2014 Author Earnings Report

Check out the July, 2014 author earnings report:


It has some good news for self-published authors:

  • Indie authors found success with the Amazon bestseller lists, topping the Big 5 numbers in some statistics.
  • Indie authors drew in good revenues from bestselling e-books.

Also worth noting:

  • The Big 5 e-books made more revenue for Amazon than indie e-books, even though indie e-books drew more author revenue.
  • It’s worth reading the note about DRM being a bad idea. See the graph to see which price ranges this affects most (in some cases, the difference is slight; for others, it’s significant).
  • Check the graph that sorts data by genre. You can see that indies do well in more genres/subjects than just romance.
  • The charts also include small and medium publishers.

Successful Indie Authors

Here is a recent article from Yahoo Finance, highlighting recent indie author successes:


While this article looked specifically at romance writers, the previous report showed that indie are having success in other genres and subjects, too.

The big thing to remember is that there are millions of books to choose from:

  • You need a cover that attracts your target audience. If it attracts the wrong audience, it will cost you much traffic. If the cover doesn’t look quite right, it’s a lost opportunity.
  • The blurb and Look Inside are your only sales tools at the point-of-sale. They need to be immaculate. They need to engage the reader immediately and keep it throughout.
  • It’s worth perfecting the content. Word-of-mouth sales are golden. You need excellent ideas that will attract readers, and a writing style to match.
  • Market for long-term success. Real success takes much time and patience to build up.

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


Click here to jump to the comments section: