Usually, this question comes with lots of exclamation marks and shouty caps and panic. Because, holy crap the last thing you want is Amazon telling people their product is going to come late. We worry they will just cancel their order. We worry they will give our book a 1-star review for a delayed delivery.
Anywhoo, the this message comes through for a few reasons, the most important one being: the package is likely going to be delayed.
So in most cases for products other than books, and even for traditionally published books, Amazon has these in their warehouses. They can see how much is there. For sellers on Amazon, they have to list how much they have in inventory so Amazon can alert the seller when the number of orders is about to surpass the number of units in inventory. The seller has is responsible for inventory and if they hit 0 there is an out-of-stock label on the Amazon listing. The only thing worse than a delayed product is an out-of-stock on your listing. It means people get there and can’t hit “buy.”
So, for you as the self-publishing author who is using print-on-demand services from a platform that is NOT Amazon, there is no inventory. That’s the beauty of print on demand. You don’t have to pay upfront for the books or warehousing fees. It’s simple. But, Amazon has nothing in stock. So when IngramSpark or Lulu or any other platform is servicing your print books, Amazon gets the orders on the website, sends the order through for fulfillment, then they receive the books from the printer, and then they send it to the customer. Amazon knows that once they have the book it will take X time to deliver it to the customer. When the book isn’t in their hands the system is set to out of order/panic/tell people they won’t get their book mode. Now, each of the print on demand services has a SLA or service level agreement with Amazon that says “hey Amazon when you send us these orders we will get the book to you in X time.” (This is why for us authors when we order author copies from IngramSpark it can take weeks but our customers on Amazon get it within days. Amazon gets priority).
But is there is a slight delay in the system, like a national holiday, an overloaded printing backlog, supply chain delays, etc. Amazon says “oh we don’t have the book in time, alert the customer that the package is delayed.”
Now, I’ve said that they don’t do this for any KDP Print orders, because they don’t.
I’ve seen this happen to a few authors with their books and the delays were like a day. Usually most customers are used to some kind of delay or timing change with Amazon. But some will lose their minds if they don’t get the book RIGHT NOW!
My suggestion is that IF Amazon sends this to your customers to let them know it is an issue with Amazon and that they will get their book by the date Amazon has said. If Amazon continues to delay or flat out cancels their order then you can as the author send that customer a make-good or a digital copy at no cost.
But ultimately, this is out of your hands if you do Print on Demand. If your paperback print on demand is not currently with KDP, I would suggest adding that to avoid some of these issues.
So I can’t help you fix it, but hopefully knowing it is out of your control helps you not panic as much.
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