Amazon crackdown?

Has Amazon taken down books from the far-right Castalia House publishing outfit aka Vox Day’s vanity publisher? Vox Day is claiming that they have:

“You may have noticed that you can’t find any Castalia House ebooks on Amazon right now. That’s because Amazon shut down our KDP account on the basis of a wildly spurious claim of publishing material to which we do not have the necessary rights. “

[archive link]

The work that seems to have caught Amazon’s attention is Corrosion (The Corroding Empire Book 1) which Day published (and probably wrote) as a kind of spoiler for the release of John Scalzi’s Collapsing Empire (which I read here).

The book in question already had a checkered history. Back in March 2017 Mike Glyer covered the various ins-and-outs of its availability: http://file770.com/amazon-keeps-freeze-on-sales-of-castalias-corrosion/comment-page-1/

Checking Amazon right now, I can see a variety of Castalia House books being listed. I can also see the audio-book version of Corrosion (The Corroding Empire Book 1)  but not the ebook. It’s possible that Amazon had a more sweeping in its takedown of Castalia House earlier but we only have Day’s word for it and he’s not a reliable source.

Day is, of course, presenting this as some kind of authoritarian crackdown etc. etc. but the whole “joke” of his book was that it was meant to have a cover and title and author name intended to look like a more popular book. The rationale given was that it was a parody but the book itself isn’t a parody of John Scalzi’s book aside from its cover.

In short, the self-own keeps owning. A poorly thought-out attempt by Vox Day to strike another blow in his long-running “gamma” grievance against John Scalzi continues to disrupt his own business and its main source of income. A borderline case of deceptive marketing will continue to be a borderline case of deceptive marketing and will keep on biting him on his metaphorical bottom. The master strategist strikes again…

[eta: and apparently Castalia has been re-instated http://voxday.blogspot.com/2019/01/reinstated.html?m=1 ]

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31 comments

  1. Laura

    It does look like all the ebooks are gone. The ebooks still there are ones where Castalia House only does the print editions. Look at CTRL ALT Revolt! for example. The Kindle edition shows the author as publisher.

    Like

    • Cora

      Print books are never deleted on Amazon, because someone might sell a used version. And audio books run via a different channel altogether and usually have a fixed contract duration (and often a royalty share with the narrator), so they remain available until the contract expires.

      Like

      • Laura

        Apparently Cam was still seeing some of the CH ebooks too at first. I was just saying the only ones I saw were ones where the ebook was a different publisher. I did wonder if this could affect the other editions eventually.

        Like

  2. Mark Hepworth

    Scalzi is eating his schadenfreude pie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. greghullender

    He said they cancelled the Kindle Direct Publishing account. When I search for books published by Castalia House, I get a lot of them, but when I restrict it to Kindle books, the list is empty. Looks like Kindle really did kick him off their platform. I’m impressed. That takes some doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • greghullender

      I should add that I don’t believe this was about this one spoof. Withholding royalties is a big step usually reserved for people who committed fraud. However annoying the spoof was, it certainly didn’t amount to fraud. There must be more to it. Not that we’re likely to ever know.

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      • Cora

        Yes, withholding royalties is a big thing. When Amazon kicked off a couple of indie author content farms (Michael Scott Earle and J.A. Cipriano were the most prominent) for supposedly manipulating KU reads last year, the authors/publishers were paid all outstanding royalties.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrarius

    But what’s really cracking me up is that the ad I get at the end of your post (in email) has a big picture of a handful of popcorn, with the caption “what popcorn really does to your brain”. LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Paul King

    The quoted emails don’t seem to agree.

    The first says “we found the title, cover image, descriptions and/or authors of the following book(s) are misleading to our customers:”

    The second says “As last communicated in the message on January 21, 2019, we have identified the submission of content for which you did not have the necessary rights. ”

    Maybe it is an Amazon screwup but I can’t help but think that a “misleading” presentation is not the same as lacking the “necessary rights”. I think there is something more there.

    Like

    • Cora

      “Lacking the necessary rights” is usually code for plagiarism. “Misleading customers” usually refers to books that are too close to an existing popular author/book that customers might get confused. “Misleading customers” can get you a temporary suspension (I know a small press fantasy/horror publisher to whom this happened because one of her authors had a name that was similar/identical to a popular romance author none of them had ever heard of – she eventually get the suspension lifted when she proved that the author used her legal name), but it won’t get your account yanked, at least not without appeal. However, Castalia House was warned about “Corrosion” before, so maybe that’s it.

      That said, Amazon’s account suspensions are opaque and getting a clear answer from them is very difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jessica

    First it was Kim Davis learning that she owes the State of Georgia all the damages she caused her victims and now it’s Teddy getting his comeuppance.

    2019 just might possibly be slightly better than the past decade since 2016.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kat Goodwin

      Certainly Kim Davis deserves to pay for the harm she did, but so does the government of Kentucky, which backed her play right up until they lost this court case. The governor campaigned with her. That they are trying to get out of paying what they owe the plaintiffs by dumping it all on her is not something that they should be able to get away with either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jessica

        I’m in very much agreement with that, Kat. Governor Beshear bears personal responsibility as well as the responsibility his office held. Also, Liberty Counsel ought to be forking out as well, since they helped her break the law.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. po8crg

    I do enjoy all the blogs from Vox about how much he hates his dad. He writes them about “Boomers”, but we all know which Boomer he’s actually writing about.

    Like

    • Space Oddity

      I suspect he means his mother as well.

      But yes, sometimes it’s hard not to think that if Beale had a touch more insight, he might ACTUALLY be able to be a decent writer working out his issues in fiction. Instead of the bizarre spectacle he is now.

      Like

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