AmazonL.J. Sellers has picked up on a trend on Amazon. The novelist who writes for the Crime Fiction Collective blog noticed old books popping up on lists for new releases.

If the book has been out for several years, how can it become a “hot, new release?”

Sellers writes:

“The newest trend I’ve noticed is the republishing of the same book. What I see happening is that familiar books that were competitive on Amazon’s crime fiction list, dropped off the list, then came roaring back with a new pub date and a high profile.”


Essentially, publishers or authors are re-releasing e-books with a new publishing date, and thereby taking advantage of Amazon’s algorithms to get their books back to the top of a list.

The crime fiction area is probably not the only place this is happening.

Sellers also notes that even though a print book with dozens of reviews is already on the site, the author can just ask Amazon to link to the two listings—getting their “new” book plenty of old reviews.

Lately the chatter has been about book discoverability. Amazon prides itself on its recommendation tools, but it seems that some have found a way around these obstacles.

Now, are there reasons to un-publish and post a book later for reasons other than trying to work the system?

Of course.

Authors could discover a terrible mistake after the book is posted. Or there could be significant changes an author wants to make based on reader feedback and reaction (which is a topic in itself).

Other have claimed to have done this because they’ve put a new cover on a book, say, or released another book and wanted both to get attention at the same time.

In Sellers’ case, however, she’s talking about books that haven’t changed anything. She’s talking about the process, in other words, of simply taking a book down and re-releasing it with a new pub date to get extra attention.

What do you think of this practice? Is it ethical? And do you think it’s something Amazon should crack down on?