How To Remove A Self-Published Book From Amazon

Self-publishing a book can be a great way to share your work with the world. However, what happens if you decide that you no longer want your book to be available on Amazon? In this article, we will discuss some solutions to remove a self-published book from Amazon!

How To Remove A Self-Published Book From Amazon

Unpublishing and Deleting Books On Amazon KDP

The world of publishing would be a heavenly place if all published books were done perfectly on the first go. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t always work that way. Human error happens; authors change their minds about their books or brands, and believe it or not, publishing houses also sometimes make mistakes.

Your first instinct would be to delete those books from oblivion; sadly, this is not the most straightforward task. On Amazon, for example, once your hit that coveted amber ‘Publishing’ button, there is very little you can do immediately after. 

Amazon has a 72-hour revision process immediately after publishing. Even if you realize your error in this stage, you will have to wait until after they have checked your book before you are given the option to unpublish.

Following this stage, deletion from their platform becomes basically non-existent, but you can proceed to unpublish.

How Do You Unpublish A Book On Amazon?

How Do You Unpublish A Book On Amazon?

The first thing you’ll need to do is sign in to your Amazon KDP dashboard and locate the book you are hoping to unpublish. On the far right of the ebook, select the ellipses (“…”). 

When you click Unpublish eBook, a window will pop up telling you that if you confirm, the book will be unpublished and can be republished in the future should you so desire. 

You can now unpublish your book by clicking Unpublish, and that would be the end of that. There will still be a copy of your ebook in your account. A book or its metadata can’t be removed entirely if it had previously been published.  

You can rest assured that the unpublished ebook will eventually fall to the bottom of your pile of published books and only occasionally appear when Amazon accesses your account. 

The same instructions apply to unpublishing a paperback or hardcover on Amazon KDP; just be sure you are beneath the appropriate format.

What Is Unpublishing and Deleting Books?

Unpublishing and deleting books are two different things. Unpublishing a book means that the book is still live on Amazon, but it is no longer available for sale. 

Typically when people refer to deleting a book, they mean that the book is removed from Amazon and is no longer available. This o[tion, however, is only available from the backend if the book in question was never published.

“Unpublished” Does Not Equal Removed

Unpublished does not equal removed

By now, this may sound like a broken record, but you must understand that the term “unpublished” when it comes to Amazon does not mean your book being removed from the market. When a book or eBook is unpublished, the listing tends to change from “Available/Buy Now” to “Unavailable/Out of print.”

This essentially means that Amazon will no longer provide new copies of your book to customers. However, orders that have already been purchased or processed will remain out in the world. The book details, description, and reviews would also still be visible on the platform.

Also, if you had opted to use Amazon’s extended distribution services for your print copies (paperback or hardcover), those copies already purchased for sale by external bookstores would remain available for purchase until either sold out, returned or destroyed. 

Individual customers who had previously purchased copies of your print book can also opt to resell their copies through Amazon or another platform.

Why Would You Want to Remove a Self-Published Book from Amazon?

There are many reasons why an author might want to remove a self-published book from Amazon. One reason might be that the author has decided to publish the text through a traditional publishing house instead. Another reason might be that the author has decided to revise and update the book and wants to republish it with a new ISBN.

The author may have also decided to go in a different direction with their brand and wants to begin with a clean slate. Eg. An author who had previously been publishing erotica but has now decided to go into children’s books

There are a variety of reasons they would not want to have those audiences mixed. As such, they may choose to unpublish their backlist if they aren’t willing to create a new pen name.

To delete a self-published book from Amazon, you must unpublish it. Bear in mind that the book’s footprint will still be visible on Amazon’s website as well as Goodreads and other associated platforms online. Whilst unpublished, however, no one new will be able to purchase your book directly from Amazon. 

Customers who had already bought or purchased your book will still have access to the version they had previously received. However, the digital copy will be automatically updated on their Kindle if you republish in the future. The print copies, however, would not be updated.

Important to Note: If you are the publisher or manager of a deceased self-publishing author, you can only unpublish the book. The same would apply as above, however, as published books cannot be completed deleted.

Is Permanent Deletion Even Possible?

This depends on whether or not the book in question has already been published and the book’s format. If the book you are trying to delete has already been published, it can not be permanently deleted from Amazon’s storefront. 

However, if the book is in the draft stage on your KDP (Amazon) bookshelf, meaning it was never available for sale or published on the platform, then you can delete it. 

How To Permanently Delete A Book Still In Draft Status

eBooks

  1. Open your Amazon KDP Bookshelf (publishing backend), and locate the book you’d like to delete.
  2. Under KINDLE EBOOK ACTIONS, click the ellipsis (“…”).
  3. Select Delete eBook.

Paperback or hardcover

  1. Open your Amazon KDP Bookshelf (publishing backend), and locate the book you’d like to delete.
  2. Under HARDCOVER ACTIONS or PAPERBACK ACTIONS, click the ellipsis (“…”).
  3. Select Delete for the appropriate format.

It is important to note that once you delete a book from the Bookshelf, you will not be able to recover it. It is also impossible to delete print books (paperback/hardcover) that have previously been assigned an ISBN.

Why Does Your Unpublished Book Remain On Amazon?

Why Does Your Unpublished Book Remain On Amazon?

Though unpublishing your book stops Amazon from selling your book directly, other people with your book may still opt to resell. Used copies of your book can still be listed and sold on by any bookstore (brick-and-mortar or online) as well as by resellers/individual customers/wholesalers/distributors. 

Bear in mind, this is only for print copies of your book. The digital copies sold by Amazon can not be legally resold.

Is This A Violation Of My Copyright?

When a book is unpublished, Amazon will no longer sell the book directly to customers. Hence they are not violating copyright law. They’re just allowing other people to list/sell used books on their website. 

So, if your book is still available for purchase it is highly likely that it is from a reseller. That does not violate copyright laws.

If at any time in the future you realize someone else is selling your book under another person’s name (meaning that another person’s name was on the cover, inside the book, etc.) that would be a clear violation of copyright. Rest assured, however, that these cases are very rare and are typically removed by Amazon in short order. 

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