Clouds of Witness - A Lord Peter Wimsey Novel by Dorothy L Sayers

We all understand that Amazon has billions of books in its system. If you were to search for a particular book title – like “Clouds of Witness” – you could easily get 20 pages of results at 22 books per page. You could expect that your own book “Clouds of Witness” might show up on page 19 of 20, for a variety of reasons.

Your book “Clouds of Witness”, though, should show up SOMEWHERE in those search results for the term “Clouds of Witness”. Your book should not be wholly blocked from showing up as a result.

As you might guess, I have had several of my books wholly blocked from appearing in title / author searches.

For my book “Clouds of Witness” I ran paid Amazon sponsor ads for this book for a month. During that month my book was visible and a top result. The moment I stopped paying for ads, the book vanished from the search results. The book didn’t just drop to a lower ranking. It became completely blocked from showing.

I just spent an hour talking with an Amazon Support Technician about this issue. He said it’s normal for books to show up at the bottom of search results. I had to point out – again – that I would be fine to be item 2000 of 2000. However, Amazon search is broken if an exact matching title does not show up anywhere in the search results.

He next directed me to this Amazon Help page about search results:

On the Amazon Help page it explicitly says:

I can’t find my book on search results. Why?

… 5. Now that you are on Amazon, go to the main search box and type the name of your book and your author name.

6. Are you able to see your book?
If your answer is yes, then search results are working as expected. You can refer to our other resources list to make your book discoverable section.
If your answer is no, you can contact us so we can do additional research and determine how we can help.

So Amazon’s own Help system says explicitly that searching for a book on its title and author name should return your book as one of the results. If it does not, there is a problem.

The sole exception Amazon mentions is if a book has adult content it might be blocked based on a user’s filter setting.

The Amazon Support Tech said that he could find my book if he searched on “clouds of witness wimsey novel” – because the full title of my book is:

Clouds of Witness – A Lord Peter Wimsey Novel

However, something is broken in Amazon search if a person has to use five words from a title to get search results. If you look for the phrase “Clouds of Witness” every single other top search result also has additional words in their title which were not necessary to use in order for those books to be found.

It seems fairly concerning if authors who pay money to Amazon’s sponsored ad program get top results on their own book title but if they stop paying their book is entirely blocked from the search results for their book title.

The Amazon Support Tech finally gave up after an hour and said he’d email me after more research. I have a feeling they are simply going to email me that the search results are only able to guarantee results if a person types in every single word in the title plus every word in the author name. Given that the search results for “Clouds of Witness” currently return a bunch of wholly inappropriate results, like a prison movie video, which has no reference at all to “Clouds of Witness”, I would consider the Amazon search functionality a substantial issue both for authors and for readers.

I will update this when I hear from the support tech.


  1. Hello Lisa, I wanted to ask a question about your review on Amazon on the pulse ox. I am also interested in using it for overnight sleep studies. Does it make the beeping sound all night?
    Sorry for commenting here, I couldn’t find another way to contact you.

  2. I thought I said in my review, but you can turn that pulse beeping on and off. It won’t pulse beep all night long. That being said, if you set a ‘floor’ it will still alarm if your oxygen levels go beneath 90 or whatever floor you want to alarm at. That way if it’s dangerously low someone can check on you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.