KDP and Covid-19

Pages of a book.

On Friday, I tried to order a proof copy of the book I’m working on for a client. A proof copy is an actual book that lets you check for errors before printing copies to sell. However, when I went to buy the proof, I got the following message, Sorry, this item can’t be shipped to your selected address. Learn more. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order. 

I’m using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), a publishing platform that I’ve used many times before. What’s the problem? I clicked on the Learn more button and couldn’t learn more. The book wasn’t oddly shaped nor did it contain hazmat material nor did it fit any of the other criteria for nonshipment. As far as I knew, Amazon was still schlepping items, like books, all over Canada.  

I checked on the KDP site to see if Covid-19 was effecting shipments. There was an update about the impact the pandemic was having on KDP but again, there was no mention of proof copies not being available for Canadian customers, simply a message saying, There may be changes in our ability to ship products internationally.

After spending a few hours trying to find a work-around to order the book, it was clear that there wasn’t one. The pandemic must be the reason why I couldn’t get a proof. An e-mail to KDP confirmed it:  

I understand that you wish to order proof copies of your book, but please know that due to current situation with covid-19 around the globe, there are lockdowns and closed borders due to which we are unable to ship orders within timelines.

We’re closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our authors, customers and employees. Books are very important to us and our customers, and we will continue offering books to customers in all formats.

I wish the company had put this up on its site. It’s a piece of vital information for Canadians and I bet there are more than a few us scratching our heads over ordering proofs. Well, now you know why.