The following message appears on listings for which a Kindle edition appears not to be available.

Some of the time, this means that a Kindle edition is not available. But most of the time it is a lie. Why? Because the process of publishing a Kindle edition involves submitting it to, which does the conversion and release process in a mysterious way with no definitive timeframe. Despite the fact that they know a Kindle edition is forthcoming, they still display this annoying and misleading message to readers.

Of course, Kindle readers being the, uhm, understanding and patient Internet users that they are, seeing this message inevitably results in gripes and accusations. “What? No Kindle edition?” Even better, readers often submit such disappointment to the author directly (that’s me), who then has to explain that, no, that message doesn’t necessarily mean there is not a Kindle edition. For an older book, it might. But for a new one, it usually means that the Kindle edition has not yet been released, but is perhaps in progress. That’s exactly the case for my new book, which will be available for Kindle any day now.

Save for big publishers or large releases, most publishers don’t have control over Amazon’s scheduling. It works more like Apple’s app approval process, which is just to say, it’s a mystery.

If this frustrates you, my kindly Kindle kin, then tell I know most of you consider Amazon a perfect, unsullied mermaid never capable of confusion, but that’s not the case.

published August 21, 2011


  1. Brandon Carson

    Ah, thanks for the clarification. I didn’t know Amazon controlled that. It’s in their best interest to have a “coming soon” notice instead of that lame “tell the publisher”…

  2. Ian Bogost

    Yeah, it’s idiotic the way they handle things. I’m not sure what they are thinking.

  3. Ian Bogost

    Then again, maybe I do know what they are thinking: they want to build affinity with Kindle owners and turn them against publishers who would appear not to be supporting the device.