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Amazon Is Removing from Kindle Store Books Published in Unsupported Languages, by Piotr Kowalczyk

Posted By a TeleRead Contributor On February 13, 2012 @ 7:20 am In Around the World,Paul Biba,publishing | 8 Comments

he international policy of Amazon is mysterious. They ship Kindle Touch to over 170 countries, but they don’t want to sell it to their major markets [1]. They also sell Kindle books to 170 countries, but they successfully prevent authors from those countries to publish in their own language.

I self-published via Amazon’s KDP a few books. Two of them in Polish. Tonight an email arrived from KDP, saying that one of the books has been removed:

As part of our efforts to provide the best experience possible for customers in the Kindle store, we are taking this opportunity to notify you that your book(s) is in a language not currently supported by KDP.  As a result, we will be removing your book(s) from the Kindle Store:

E-opowiadania 1 [Polish Edition] (ASIN:B004TYZ1FW)

Please note that we are only accepting new submissions in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese at this time. The Kindle community is expanding quickly and we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead.

Amazon opened their self-publishing platform to authors from outside US at the beginning of 2010. I remember that fact very well, as it happened on the eve of the rumored launch of Google Ebookstore and I had no doubts that Amazon’s move was to weaken the competitor.

At the beginning there were as much as 16 supported languages and authors from countries like Poland were hoping to have new languages on board soon. Nothing like this happened. Just the opposite. Last year the list of languages was being limited to six: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

However it was still possible to publish books in other languages. You had to use a couple of tricks and it was terribly difficult to get through, but it was possible.

A couple of days ago I noticed that the language status of the book, which is now removed, was changed from “English” to “Polish”. The other title, which is, to get things even more interesting, a part of the series, is still in the Kindle Store, with a status “English”.

If you self-published a book via Amazon’s KDP, and it’s in an unsupported language, you better check the status. If the language is still English, your book may be safe.

There is a small community of Polish authors who self-published their books at KDP, and many of them were affected. I’m sure it’s not only about Polish books. If you’ve heard about removing books in other languages, please share the information in the comments below.

Why is this happening now? I hope Amazon will keep on their promises: “we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead”.

According to Nexto [2], one of the biggest Polish ebookstores, there are over 60,000 Kindle devices in Poland. First thing a new Kindle owner does is to check books in the mother tongue. Those who speak English, German, French, Spanish or Portuguese are lucky. The rest have to use tricks to find books in Kindle Store [3]. If they don’t, they start to look somewhere else. If I were Amazon, I would consider it a lost opportunity.

I’ve asked KDP for explanation. If any specific answer comes, I’ll share it.

Update: Just checked my KDP dashboard. The status of the book in question is “blocked” and it means:

[Via Ebook Friendly [4]]


8 Comments (Open | Close)

8 Comments To "Amazon Is Removing from Kindle Store Books Published in Unsupported Languages, by Piotr Kowalczyk"

#1 Comment By asotir On February 13, 2012 @ 8:44 am

I wonder if you could publish a book in English in which a character says one line of dialogue in Polish? I wonder if you could publish a book in English that is critical analysis of a Polish author with extensive quotations in Polish?

I wonder if you could publish a book in English with an Introduction in English and chapter interludes in English but the actual chapters are all in Polish?

Amazon is stupid and wrong here. It is unlike them to turn down actual sales.

#2 Comment By Howard On February 13, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

I think it is frustrating for people in those countries, especially my favourite Poland, but the decision makes complete sense and is far from stupid or wrong. It could be described as a bad marketing move though :-)

It seems to me that this is a technical issue related to the Kindle software. Amazon have decided that the other languages are not displaying at the highest standards for some software reason and have decided to pull them until those languages are supported.

I agree it is frustrating and annoying. But it only demonstrates amazon’s determination to deliver the best product at the highest standards.

Of course this is just my theory …

I have no special love of Amazon whatsoever, other than as a customer who has used them successfully over the years for all kinds of products.

#3 Comment By Melita K. On February 13, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

One possibility is that Amazon is trying to minimize issues with texts published in languages that they don’t have the resources to check (is it p0rn, illegal translation from another language, copyright-infringing, etc).

#4 Comment By Natasha On February 13, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

My books in Russian have been blocked with the same explanation. Very strange and rude.They’re talking about customer serves… It doesn’t include Polish, or Russians, or Romanian I guess. They want only customers in “supported” languages.

#5 Comment By Yaron Goldstein On February 14, 2012 @ 8:56 am

A few books I published on Amazon KDP in the Hebrew language were blocked as well.
I wonder what is their attitude towards picture books (fixed layout) and PDF files.

#6 Comment By Clytie Siddall On February 17, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

It can’t be a language-display issue, unless Amazon are incompetent (which isn’t their usual behaviour).

UTF-8 (Unicode) displays all world languages. It’s the standard file-encoding now. I notice the Big 6 publishers routinely mess up file encoding so even French accents don’t display properly (French only needs Latin-1), but Amazon are digital natives, not legacy Luddites.

If your device or software doesn’t display any language correctly, then its creators are way behind the times.

(I spent years voluntarily localizing software and testing it for Unicode support.)

#7 Comment By Irina On May 2, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

I was trying to submit works of my friend and publisher in Russia (the books already were published in Russia in paper format and have ISBN and everything) and I got one through – the other were rejected. So sad. I have been fighting with the tech support in India for a week – but what can they do? People in India have no decision-making power. I just want to get an answer – WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO BE SUPPORTING RUSSIAN? And WHY IS IT SO HARD TO REACH ANYONE AT KDP WHO IS AMERICAN?

#8 Comment By Sikh On December 6, 2012 @ 4:12 am

It is really frustrating that Amazon kindle supports only a handful of languages. They will not let us publish books in Dutch, Punjabi or Hindi even if the books are only picture books with all the text embedded in images. These are all graphic novels with not a single word of text.


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URLs in this post:

[1] don’t want to sell it to their major markets: http://ebookfriendly.com/2012/02/05/kindle-touch-doesnt-ship-to-uk-germany-france-italy-and-spain/

[2] Nexto: http://nexto.pl/

[3] tricks to find books in Kindle Store: http://ebookfriendly.com/2011/08/25/how-to-find-non-english-books-at-kindle-store/

[4] Ebook Friendly: http://ebookfriendly.com/2012/02/10/amazon-is-removing-from-kindle-store-books-published-in-unsupported-languages/

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