It can be a little disconcerting if you notice that your paperback version is not available on Amazon.
But you’ll probably find that your Kindle or audiobook versions are fine.
What you see is the result of geography, shipping costs, and delivery time.
Paperback or hardcover versions of your book need to be produced, shipped, and physically delivered, unlike ebook and audiobook files.
Why is my paperback version displaying not available?
It’s all to do with where you live.
For authors who live outside the US, you will usually see that the Amazon US store shows your paperback book as unavailable.
But don’t worry, it is available for US readers and buyers.
The same is true if a US reader visits Amazon UK or DE. They will see the paperback as unavailable and possibly the Kindle version as well.
If a Kindle version is unavailable, it is due to geoblocking.
Amazon sometimes applies geoblocking, but the UK store seems to be the most protected for some reason.
However, with paperbacks and hardcover books, it’s all about distance and shipping costs.
You can only order physical products, such as books, from an Amazon store near you.
Amazon produces your book by print-on-demand, then packs, ships, and delivers it.
Because of this, Amazon will only offer and fulfill physical orders for local markets.
How can you check if your paperback book is available?
The first step is to verify that your paperback is published and live on Amazon. Go to your KDP dashboard, and select your book.
You should see LIVE on the left for your paperback version. If you see this, all is fine, and you can move on to the next check.
Go to your book details from the Paperback Actions menu. Select the Paperback Rights and Pricing tab.
Make sure that the All Territories (worldwide rights) option is selected. If so, scroll down the page to Pricing, Royalty, and distribution.
You should see that all Amazon stores are displaying royalty and pricing information.
For more information, you can refer to Paperback and Hardcover Distribution Rights on Amazon.
Don’t worry about expanded distribution because Amazon does not offer this option outside the US and UK.
If you see all the information above for your book, it is definitely available for readers to buy on all Amazon stores.
One other check you should do is to make sure that all your book versions appear on one sales page.
If you don’t see all your versions together, you will need to contact KDP and ask to link and merge your book versions.
How to check every Amazon store
Go back to your KDP dashboard, and select your book.
Hover over View on Amazon. You will then see links to your title for every Amazon store.
With these links, you can check your book on all Amazon stores.
Because I live in Europe, I’ll see that the paperback is unavailable when I select the US store.
It’s a confusing message because it will never be back in stock. However, Amazon buyers in the US will not see this notice, and the book will be available to buy.
But if I try Amazon UK, all is fine because the store is close to me.
Because they are also close, I’m also in luck if I use Amazon Germany, or France.
But if I try Australia, my paperback version is not available and cannot be shipped.
However, it gives a good clue. Try an Amazon store in a different location.
You can check every store from your KDP dashboard, but your paperback version will only show as available in stores near you.
Double-check your other versions
From your KDP dashboard, you can also check your other versions on all Amazon Stores.
You should be able to confirm that your Kindle and audiobook versions are available to buy.
Here are two examples of my Kindle ebooks on Amazon Australia and Japan.
You can do this check anytime you might have doubts about the availability of your book versions.
Other ways to check your book’s availability
If you have access to a VPN, you can check any Amazon store.
With a VPN, you can select a server in another country and virtually change your location.
But if you don’t have this access, the easiest way is to ask for help.
Do you have friends or social contacts in Europe, the US, or Australia?
Send them a link to your paperback book for their local Amazon store and ask them to check the availability.
It’s probably the most failsafe way to check.
If you notice that your paperback version is not available on a particular Amazon store, don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal.
You simply live too far away.
If you do the checks above to confirm you selected worldwide distribution on Amazon, buyers will see your book as available in their closest Amazon store or stores.
It might all seem a bit complicated.
But it boils down to a matter of the cost of delivery. It’s far too expensive to ship a book from New York to Paris.
It’s far more economical to produce and ship a book from London to Paris and much faster.
So relax. In most cases, your paperback is alive and well and available for Amazon readers to buy worldwide.
But if you do all these checks and you’re still not convinced, you can always contact Amazon KDP for assistance.
Related reading: When A Self-Published Author Dies What Happens To Their Books?