A forthcoming e-book by authors Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan was de-listed on Amazon for two days last week after the company appeared to be convinced that Clare’s newly launched small-publishing initiative was a fraudulent attempt to impersonate the author.
Son of the Dawn, which will be released on April 10, had been available for pre-order on Amazon since February, but the listing was taken down on April 6 without notice to the authors. It was re-listed the next day.
The title is the first in a series of eight stories called Ghosts of the Shadow Market. Each story is co-authored by Clare alongside writers from her writing circle. As an experiment in small publishing, Clare also decided to oversee publication of the digital editions. Once released, the e-books will be collected and released as a print anthology by Simon & Schuster.
After learning that the book had been taken down, Clare, Brennan, and fellow series co-author Maureen Johnson blasted the company on Twitter, fearing that publication of the book would be delayed and thousands of pre-orders would be erased. “[T]his is horrible for my readers and also horrible for @sarareesbrenna,” wrote Clare. “I am extremely disappointed in @amazon.”
In an effort to get the book reinstated, the authors urged customers to reach out to Amazon’s help desk. Their attempts were initially unsuccessful, with one reader posting that Amazon had told her “that the publisher removed the book, or that it was never published on their site.”
Clare, who is the author of the popular YA series The Mortal Instruments, disagreed with Amazon's assertion, writing that the company replied to her inquiries to say that they had removed the title after she uploaded the text for distribution because they did not believe that she would self-publish a book. Clare told readers that, “Authors should not be punished by @amazon for choosing to self-publish.”
Clare’s self-publishing efforts resembles a small publishing house. Her co-author for one story in the series is Kelly Link, co-publisher at Easthampton, Mass.-based Small Beer Press. Clare enlisted Link’s husband and co-publisher Gavin Grant to coordinate her book releases over the next eight months and also established a company, Shadow Market Enterprises, to manage sales and distribution.
The author credited sustained pressure from readers for the reinstatement of the book (all the pre-ordered copies were also revived), but also wrote that she was continuing to look into the extent of the disruption over the weekend. The title is currently listed as the top selling book on the site’s “30-Minute Teen & Young Adult Short Reads” section.
The book’s listing on other digital retail sites was unaffected by Amazon's actions.