Scott Adams says Amazon indie book publishing


“Dilbert” cartoonist, podcaster, and author Scott Adams earlier this week said Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing “banned” him and his books “for life” — and for a false reason: that he didn’t own the rights to his own books.

Adams said Amazon KDP had documentation indicating that his former book publisher gave him back the rights to his books after dropping him earlier this year. But that didn’t seem to help, as Adams said repeated Amazon KDP responses appeared automated and AI-driven and failed to address specifics he was pointing out. He was getting nowhere fast.

That’s when Adams went public with his plight:

Joshua Lisec, a ghostwriter who’s been helping Adams set up his own publishing imprint over the last several months, has had a front-row seat for the head-scratching situation, and on Thursday morning he laid it out for TheBlaze.

Lisec said the same thing: that Amazon KDP informed Adams it was “terminating” his account and “banning” him “for life” and that Adams wouldn’t be able to set up any new accounts — it was a “permanent” kick out the door.

Then something funny happened around the same time that Adams told his 1 million followers on X (formerly Twitter) that Amazon KDP canceled him. Lisec said Adams told him “give it 24 hours.”

Sure enough, Lisec said, Adams got an apology note from Amazon KDP “23 hours later” telling him to “disregard” the ban and that his account was “reinstated.” Adams informed his social media followers on Wednesday:

It wasn’t the first strangeness that Lisec encountered with Amazon KDP.

In fact, he told TheBlaze that in 2021 he tried to get the outfit to run with a novel he co-authored with Adam Lane Smith. Lisec said he soon got a notice from Amazon KDP actually wanting proof that Adam Lane Smith wasn’t Adam Smith — you know, the Adam Smith who wrote the famed 1776 book “The Wealth of Nations.” Lisec chuckled recounting the bizarre request.

Adams during his Thursday morning podcast gave a summary of his Amazon KDP ordeal and pointed out that his initial post to his hefty number of followers likely triggered an “executive response” at Amazon KDP.

“Big companies have an executive response team that’s monitoring any social media or PR problems … so I made myself a social media problem. Because I knew it would activate the executive response team,” Adams said.

Laughing, he added, “And exactly the way it’s supposed to work, the executive response team said, ‘Oh s**t! We don’t need this hanging out on the Internet!'” Adams said Amazon KDP then apologized and reversed the ban.

Adams also brought up the curious ban of radio host Glenn Beck, founder of TheBlaze, from Apple Podcasts on Wednesday, which also was reversed soon after news of it landed:

The alleged, maybe, explanation if you search the Internet when they talk about the [Beck] story is that there was a trademark dispute. Do you believe that there was a trademark dispute for Glenn Beck’s materials? Do you believe that? Well, somebody may have complained, I don’t know about that, but I think Apple realized it was a mistake … but both of us have this interesting technical glitch. Now let me ask you: What would happen if that technical glitch had happened to you, and you didn’t have over a million followers on social media? You would be f***ed. You would be absolutely f***ed. … There’s no way you would’ve gotten a human being to help you. … You’re outta luck. Now ask yourself how important is Elon Musk right now? Do you think that Glenn Beck or I would be back in business if Elon Musk was not running Twitter? Because I probably would’ve been kicked off of Twitter by now. … If [Beck and I] didn’t have the big profile, we would’ve been slapped down.

Adams also noted that it “seems like a little bit of a coincidence” that he and Beck are both “similarly situated” in the media and both got hit with a “technical problem” and then were told “you’re banned.”

“It probably was a coincidence,” he continued. “It probably was. ‘Cause coincidences do happen. But in the current media environment, how am I supposed to believe it? How would I believe anything that anybody says in 2023, no matter who they are? Am I gonna believe a corporation? Am I gonna believe the government? … Who exactly should I believe about anything?”

While Adams acknowledged there may be reasonable technical difficulties afoot, particularly with respect to AI-generated content that the likes of Amazon and Apple are now forced to deal with, he added that “we have such a low-trust environment … how could I possibly depend on ‘it was just an accident’ in 2023?”

Amazon has not responded to messages from TheBlaze requesting comment on the Adams situation. TheBlaze will update this story if Amazon responds.

Here’s video of Adams’ Thursday podcast. The relevant portion starts just after the 9-minute mark:

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