THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING EBOOKS

Sometimes you get an inkling that a trip isn’t going to go well right from the outset.  In our case, we missed our plane to Copenhagen (the nearest big airport to southern Sweden).  The M6 motorway, which is our route to Manchester Airport, saw three separate vehicle crashes with the inevitable hold-ups.  Our normal two-hour journey took five hours.  Needless to say our plane had long gone by the time we reached the airport.

That was a hint of what was to come.  On our first morning in Ystad (a day later than planned) with my son and his family, I received an email from the company that distributes (not publishes) all my ebooks.  Amazon were disputing the copyright held by one of the many authors that the distributor deals with.  As a result, Amazon decided to terminate the distributor’s account and withdrew every book associated with it – including all mine!  Suddenly, the Malmö Mysteries were no longer – they had disappeared from every Amazon site worldwide.  To say it was a bit of shock was an understatement.  It seemed ironic that I was on a research trip for the next Anita Sundström novel.  A number of kind readers emailed to tell me that the books had gone AWOL.

The advice I received was to move the ebooks to an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.  This is easier said than done when all the information you need (including tax information for the American IRS) is sitting at home a thousand miles away.  This complicated process was spread over a fraught week, by which time we were in Tallinn, which will feature in the next book – a further thousand miles away.  When everything seemed as though it might be sorted out, Amazon then wanted proof that I held the copyright to my own books.  Fortunately, Tallinn was a happy distraction – a beautiful city with medieval walls, grand churches and wealthy merchants’ houses from the time of the Hanseatic League.   And the weather was good, the locals friendly and the beer cold and refreshing – and much needed.

By the time we were about to leave Estonia, Amazon gave us the go-ahead.  The ebooks would be reappearing.  But like all good mysteries, there is always a twist at the end.  At exactly the same time my KDP account became live, Amazon decided to reinstate all the distributor’s books.  If we’d done absolutely nothing for the week – instead of endless phone calls and emails flying back and forth to the UK and America – we’d have ended up in precisely the same situation!  We had to take down the Amazon KDP versions we’d spent a week setting up as, for a few hours, there were two versions of the same ebooks!

And how did the trip end?  Our plane back to Manchester from Stockholm broke down.