Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

You won’t believe this

It’s back! And hopefully it’ll stay that way.

The WOOL OMNIBUS has been taken down from the Kindle store! I received an email from Amazon a few hours ago that said I formatting issues with the book, that the font was too dim. I’m assuming this has to do with the Kindle Fire, as I also got an email from a customer saying the same thing. I don’t know if this is related to the glitch that took down two of my other books or not.

So I pull up my files and make sure the font is set to black, the background to none. I re-upload new files for all six Wool books (Omnibus and the five individuals). Just now, the book disappeared from the Kindle store. It was ranked #127 overall at the time. Gone. Poof.

I am numb, shocked, stunned, outraged, despondent. I can’t believe they can work this hard on a Sunday to screw my life when I couldn’t get anyone on a Friday to restore my other two books. If it isn’t resolved soon, I can see a major depressive episode coming on.

Email your congressman if you think it’ll help. I’m going to go curl up in a ball and cry.

55 replies to “You won’t believe this”

Oh, no. That’s insane!!!

Font too dim??? Ha!

All 5 Wool stories read just fine for me on my Kindle 4 – maybe they need to reset the default settings on the Fire?

I think this might be retribution for the panicked emails I sent regarding Wools 2 and 4 this weekend. I can’t help but feel that. The coincidence is amazing. Someone took umbrage to my bitching about the other books being down, and they hit me where it hurt the most.

I hope this isn’t true, but it’s where my brain goes.

Seriously, ive read the whole series on the fire, not to mention the plagerist, half way home, and the hurricane. Who can we contact..I say we stage an Occupy Amazon rally!

Well, hopefully this will clear up soon.

Hugh, did you get 2 and 4 straightened out? If so, did you lose all of the or opus reviews, or was that restored?

Yeah, I noticed that, kinda makes me happy that I haven’t connected the Kindle App on my iPad2 to the internet lately, I know I have it backed up and all but still, I shouldn’t HAVE to redo stuff for their screw up. And on a side note, the iPad2 shows that the Omnibus looks fine…

Looks black to me both on the iPad2, iPhone4s and my PC…

The entry is still there… it just says you can’t buy it… so the reviews and rankings
(Congrats by the way for being
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > High Tech
#1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Anthologies
#1 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > High Tech)

Is there any way that WE can write into Amazon and complain as customers so they will get it fixed? If so, let me know, because I will definitely do it!

I don’t know, Jill. I don’t think it would get it restored. I wish there was something we could do.

I’ve worked for so long to get to the point that I could reach readers. Thinking of the hundreds of people who would have checked out this series tonight and now won’t get the chance just drives a stake through my chest.

Well I am off to TAFE for 12 hours now but I hope this is all sorted out by the time I get back.

I just deleted the Omnibus Edition from my Kindle Fire and redownloaded it from the cloud. I can provide some screenshots as to what they were referring to, I’m supposing. I only made that comment about the formatting on your forums, though. :

Thanks, Nisays. It sounds like the file may have become corrupted on their end, causing this issue. I’ve had a handful of people respond on FB that they read the entire series and Omnibus on their Fires and everything looked fine. It sounds like a glitch that got reported and the worst course of action possible was taken. :(

I just got an email from a contact at Amazon. This was initiated by a complaining customer, who apparently said they could not read the book on their Kindle device. From there, it was DefCon 5 Nuclear Shutdown, and the book was pulled within hours. Fucking crazy.

Supposedly, it should be re-published within 3-4 hours. If there are future complaints, they say they will check with me and not unpublish the damn thing while we attempt to sort it out.

I have a kindle fire and do not have any issues with any of your books or anyone else’s books. What scares me about this and makes me feel for you as a fellow author is how quick your book was removed without you being contacted first. Seem like a very unprofessional way for amazon to treat authors, you’ve been successful with your books and so has amazon who takes a good chunk of print and ebooks.

Cole: I had the exact same reaction. How can they do this so swiftly? And why would they not take into account how many copies I’ve sold without issue? The system they use to respond to this stuff is suspect.

Thanks for this, Nisays. Good to see what’s going on. I’m hearing mixed reports depending on when the book was read, so it sounds like a file may have been corrupted on Amazon’s servers. Two other of my books were corrupted in different ways this week. I’m starting to believe in gremlins!

Sorry your supposed to buy every platform Kindle supports to proof your work? I don’t think so, this is their issue not yours.

I would be calling and asking how the author of the highest customer rated work of fiction can contact someone a little higher in the food chain – remind them good customers complain – the bad ones just leave.

Relax. Once a good book, aways a good book. Besides, the fewer that read Wool when you are practically giving it away, the more that will flock to it when it is a $26.00 hardback.

Rather then worry I’d start making inquiring blog posts about just what happened at Amazon and how it affects the new beginning author. This will get picked up by the mainstream blogs and will lead to future readership.

Make the best of it… and also keep working on perfecting your craft and finding the next big winner.

Hugh, yeah the system is bad. My seller account was removed forever because of a buyers mistake. He gave me negative rating on my product, 1 negative rating out of the hundred or so items I’ve sold and he said I stole his money but the transactions was ended by him because it wasn’t what he wanted so I never the money, he even deleted his comment but it didn’t remove the negative comment. Once my account was suspended forever he wrote Amazon and told them and still they didn’t let me! I only sold textbooks on Amazon and various other items but the system isn’t setup for customers, it’s setup for the machine that is Amazon. I’ll still buy from them even though they did me wrong because they give me a better bang for my buck in almost everything they sell. Hopefully they’ll fix everything with your books soon and give you son type of apology. The problem with so many companies today is that they have lost the ability to be personal with consumers because of the internet and that’s really a shame. You connect with your readers and allow them to be apart of your career because without readers you don’t sell books, more companies should remember that their consumers keep them going.

Damn, Cole, I’m sorry to hear that. That stinks. Especially with the customer adding his endorsement after the fact!

And yeah, the impersonal nature of it all is unfortunate. Like you say, though, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Internet allows me to have a stronger relationship with my customers, and I love that about it.

Wow, one customer complaint pulled an entire book from the store…heck two can play that game…have a competitor you want us to call and complain about…;)

No Hugh, all the books look just fine. On the fire you actually get to set the font, the color, the background color. Sounds like someone didn’t know how to use their device.

It’s the IT elite proving that they can decide what people can/cannot see ;)
But don’t worry, when Wool will be made a forbidden book we will secretly pass our precious paper copies from hand to hand, keeping the Silo stories alive.

Joking aside, I’m glad the Omnibus went back online with all its reviews.

I find it hard to fathom that the darkness of the font is an inherent part of the file itself. Can that be right, and if so, who designed this architecture?

I actually called Amazon about Wool 4 no longer being available and had to argue with them that the problem was on their end to no avail. Anyway, I have since downloaded it, however now Wool 2, 3 and 4 are all unreadable on my phone and PC both. The first several words are missing from every paragraph in all 3 of these. Wool 1 and 5 are still formatted fine. I have no idea what to do!! The crazy thing is I know Wool 2 was fine before. I started reading it and then quit when I realized Wool 4 wasn’t availabe. Went back to read it and discovered that was no longer possible.

Hugh: Looks like they have Kindle books available again. I re-downloaded Wool 2 and it still has the same problems. Paragraph 1 starts “pairs, two matching sticks of wood”. Paragraph 2 “of needles. She always chose”. Every paragraph in the entire book is this way..
By the way – You are awesome for taking the time to converse with the fans and fight with Amazon for us!!

Brad: I also deleted it and re-downloaded it to my Android phone Kindle app, and the first lines are there. :( I’ve asked on FB for someone else to try. It’s 4:34 EST here.

Just thought I’d chime in, in case anyone reported any issues on the iphone. I’ve just finished the omnibus via kindle app for iphone and I had no issues whatsoever :) . Purchased it two days ago and got the email saying it had been updated yesterday.. but I couldn’t notice any difference between the two on my end.

Anyhoo needless to say the books were awesome and I’ll be grabing your other books that are available on kindle. :D

I was given a Kindle as a present a few months ago, being a real technophobe, I found the whole idea of downloading books a bit scary. Logged on to, thought they might have more to choose from than France or the U.K and was delighted to find Wool. Since then I have read all the series in double quick time and everything else that you’ve written. I congratulate you, nice job. Once I was hooked I would have paid more to read the rest! I expect to pay more for future books that I look forward to reading. I won’t mind a bit, honest!

Well, something is working right again, whether through your efforts or Amazon, but as a newcomer to your Wool series, I just ordered Wool 2 a half hour ago [Wool 1 kept me up last night so I could finish] and it’s arrived on my Kindle 3 in good order just now.

I love the idea of serial books.. it’s a grand old idea with an amazing heritage, also on the radio, movies and even TV.. anyone who doesn’t recognize that the TV show Lost was a serial needs to “get out” more. Heck, even Balzac and Dickens had books published as serials.

Anyway, I’ll probably pass on the Omnibus.. I’m enjoying buying the novellas one by one… it’s just suits my way of reading. I have a hectic daily life and must carve out reading time where I can find it. Much as I love large tomes in theory, in practice it’s easier and more satisfying for me to read in smaller bites.

I bought the omnibus and while book 1 was great, book 2 is impossible to read on my Asus Transformer Prime. There are big white lines throughout Book 2, have not paged ahead to see the rest of them.
Kind of a bummer, I thought the first story was great, and was looking forward to reading the rest, but not sure what to do now. I am certainly not buying them again…

I just “removed” WOOL 2 from my Mac and re-downloaded it from the Archive section, and it looks okay to me. All devices are different, however. I’ll ask the Amazon team what could be causing those lines.

Thanks, much appreciated. When I open the book (I have the omnibus)in the Android Ice Cream Sandwhich Kindle app, all is well in the first book. But the second book appears to have white bars throughout, almost like redactions. It seems to take the first sentence of many paragraphs out, in some cases I can see vague text underneath, other times I can see nothing. When I have it in “white” mode it just appears that text is missing. When I have it in “black” mode, I can see the white stripe covering the text. I have posted some images of this here Thanks for your help, the first book was great and would love to read the rest.

I’m going back and forth with the guy who wrote the style manual for Kindle publishing right now. I can recreate this with his file on my Mac, but they can’t see the problem on their end. They are scrambling for a fix.

Question: Does your version of the book have a table of contents?

Just to confirm: No, I do not have a table of contents, just starts right at book 1 (after the cover artwork). Also, based on the feedback in this thread I did just that, deleted the book from the device and reloaded it, but to no avail. The good news is that I downloaded the kindle app to my win mobile phone and everything looks correct and proper, cant wait to jump into it when I get home from work. So One way or another I am happy, getting to read more, albeit on a different device. I empathize, what with all of the different devices, that compatibility is a headache. Good luck!

I spoke with the head honcho over at Kindle Publishing, and he can’t figure it out. I am able to see an issue on my Mac but nowhere else. It sounds device specific for you as well. We scheduled an hour to work on this tomorrow, so I hope to get to the bottom of it.

One of his ideas is that some devices might cache older versions. I’m not quite convinced this is what’s going on. I do appreciate your feedback and detailed descriptions; I think they’ll help us nail this.

And forget about your first post! ;) I would have been irate as well! It would be like popping that first crispy Pringle only to find that the rest were soggy and stale!

By the way, with regard to engaging the author: wow. Totally impressed. Wish I could delete my temperamental first post. While I did not want to rebuy this book, rest assured I will be buying the others/rest! Keep up the great work!

The problem of missing words continues. I downloaded the omnibus today. Book 1 read just fine, but then once I got to book 2 I noticed that there were words missing from the beginning of most of the paragraphs. I tried manually deleting the book from my kindle and re-downloading it from amazon to no avail. I eventually had to return it for a refund. I was really looking forward to reading it all after getting through the first book. I guess if amazon does not fix the problem I will have to download them all individually.

To update: I fixed the problem. I now have a working copy of Wool Omnibus on my Kindle! I think what happened is that I got a copy through Prime Lending Library earlier this year, but never got around to reading it. So, when I actually purchased the book months later I was somehow still getting an old cached copy. (My copy was missing the table of contents in addition to full lines of text) When I was working on it this weekend I deleted the main file, but not ALL of the files. I was able to fix this by plugging my kindle into the computer and running a search on my kindle and deleting any file that had “Wool” in the name at all.

I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

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