16 September 2009 by Published in: Rants 10 comments

Time for a major rant, and one that is not only overdue but richly deserved….

My biography of Ulric Dahlgren has been available for sale for about six weeks now. In spite of that fact, none of the big box booksellers have it in inventory. Amazon says it hasn’t been released. So does
Barnes & Noble, and Borders says it won’t be available until December 30. December 30? Say what?

Donald Thompson at Touch the Elbow asked publicly where his book is today on the blog, which is what triggered this post.

This is my 15th book. I also have published about ten books as a publisher. At this point, I know a little bit about marketing and how distributors work. My publisher claims that he selected his current distributor because of its record of success selling books on Amazon. I can’t begin to imagine what that success might be, because it’s become painfully and abundantly clear to me that the distributor hasn’t done a damned thing to sell my book. It has not done anything at all to see that the book is available for sale to the general public, or I wouldn’t have gotten the same result from the three big-box book retailers.

I would call this distributor useless, but that would be an insult to all useless things in the world. Rather, I prefer to call them grossly, rankly incompetent, probably liars, and worse than useless, because they surely haven’t done a God damned thing to do that they were contracted to do. If I knew the name of this useless outfit, I would gladly tell all of you, in the sincere hope that you will all either bitch to them or avoid doing any business with them.

I deeply and sincerely apologize to each and every one of you who has tried but failed to buy this book as a result of the overwhelming misfeasance of this so-called distributor. I wish that there was something I could do about it, but there’s not. All I can do is to suggest that you either buy the book directly from me, or from Edinborough Press, because I don’t what else to suggest.

To say that I am frustrated doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

Scridb filter


  1. James McCorry
    Wed 16th Sep 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Eric: How can I get an autographed copy directly from you. Been waiting a long time on my amazon order. Have 8 books you have done and enjoy so much. Thanks, James McCorry

  2. Chris Evans
    Thu 17th Sep 2009 at 12:11 am

    I was wondering why it has never been made available on Amazon.
    Thanks for the update,

  3. Andrew DeSutter
    Thu 17th Sep 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Were you serious about buying it from you directly? I don’t think I can wait until December. James has the right idea…could I get my copy autographed as well.

    Andrew from NYC

  4. Thu 17th Sep 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about the situation – I checked the online sellers and it’s still showing as not available. It’s why I have to hand it to Savas-Beatie – they’ve always done a stellar job of marketing our books, and in the case of my Complete Gettysburg Guide, even did a second printing before the first arrived so as to satisfy demand. Distributor Casemate got it into all retailers’ hands immediately and distribution was fast on all fronts.

    That a book available now is showing as not available until Dec. 30 is inexcusable. Someone has not only dropped the ball, but lost it.


  5. John Foskett
    Thu 17th Sep 2009 at 2:39 pm


    Thanks for the update. I helped a colleague a couple of months ago by reading and critiquing a manuscript on a Civil War topic which has now been selected for pubiocation. In (perhaps overly generous) gratitude, he offered me a book of my choice from Amazon. I immediately picked this one and he ordered it. I’ve been puzzled since, given your updates, by its continuing pre-order status over there. I have no doubt that it will be well worth the wait, but something on the distribution end is bizarre….

  6. John Mills-Darrington
    Thu 17th Sep 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Eric,
    Just checked my Amazon account here in the UK
    Dispatch estimate was 16th Sep and delivery estimate is 21st to 23rd Sep.
    Not yet had my email confirming despatch yet.

  7. Bill Satterlee
    Thu 17th Sep 2009 at 8:41 pm

    A December 30th release date certainly knocks the heck out of holiday gift sales. A real lose/lose/lose situation for the publisher, the retailer and the author.

  8. John Mills-Darrington
    Fri 18th Sep 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Just had an email from Amazon saying that they are awaiting a new delivery date from their supplier. Deep gloom has decended.

  9. Fri 18th Sep 2009 at 5:22 pm


    I took your advice and ordered a copy of “Like A Meteor Blazing Brightly” through the Edinborough Press Website. I’m really looking forward to reading the entire manuscript this time around. Additionally, I don’t have any plans of cancelling the Amazon order.


  10. Valerie Protopapas
    Wed 30th Sep 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Gee. I was waiting for my “gift” autographed copy with Ulrich’s portrait on the cover, so I didn’t bother to check Amazon! Cest le guerre – if my French is spelled correctly.

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