Amazon Aid for Macmillan Writers: Who Moved My Buy Button?

As the Amazon and Macmillan standoff has dragged on, too many authors were endlessly refreshing their pages to see if their books were available for direct sale on Amazon.

To help the situation, and track more digital book developments in the future, the Authors Guild will now track how often Amazon removes the button that allows customers to buy a book directly on Amazon–a project called Who Moved My Buy Button?

Readers, writers, and publishers can sign up for email alerts tracking a book’s buy button status on Amazon. Here’s more from the site:

“Amazon often chooses to instill fear in a publisher by selectively removing only a portion of a publisher’s list from its online market. It can do this silently, changing the titles that are unavailable on a regular basis, so that only the publisher notices. Both Amazon and the publisher have solid reasons to keep the unpleasantness quiet: Amazon doesn’t really want to be seen as a bully, and the publisher doesn’t want to betray weakness as it succumbs to the pressure…So please keep track of a few of your books. Sound the alarm if you find Amazon’s removed your buy buttons … We’ll do our part — we’ll monitor thousands of titles from many publishers.”

It will be fascinating to analyze the results of this ongoing program. Currently, (as of this 1:50 p.m. EST writing), direct buy buttons have not been restored to many Macmillan. You can test availability by following links to John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.