Something's not working as it should.
Quick explanation of the book loading process for preorders:
1. When an author creates a preorder, Amazon requires them to upload a file. Any file. It could be the author's shopping list, they don't care. This temporary file is called the Placeholder File.
2. The author must replace the Placeholder File with the final Book File by a specific date before the book's release, per Amazon's rules.
3. Amazon will work its techno-magic and distribute the Book File to the readers on release day. The Placeholder File will disappear, presumably into oblivion.
Here's the problem: Step three has not been consistently happening. Somewhere along the line, Amazon's system is failing to replace the Placeholders with the Books, leaving readers with...well, "shopping lists".
Here's another problem: Readers get pissed (and rightfully so!) and will 1-star the book (not so great!).
I'm begging you, if you are a reader and this happens to you, please do not 1-star the book! This only hurts the author. The one person who is as pissed as you are, and is fighting for you so you can get the copy of the book you bought and paid for.
What can the reader do?
1. Contact Amazon immediately and let them know about the problem, and that you would very much like to have your book, please.
2. Send the author an email, post, or PM of support, because she's probably crying and banging her head against her keyboard because...Amazon.
3. Once you do get the book and have read it, leave a positive review. This may make the author cry some more, but it'll be for good reasons.
Could the author have failed to upload the final Book File in time? Sure! It could happen, but it's highly unlikely. There are penalties for that--namely an author's reputation. Also, the abrupt spike in these occurrences points to a system-wide glitch, not a bunch of authors suddenly being lazy.
Please, please, please share this blog! Help get educate other readers who may not understand how the system works. So many fabulous authors are being erroneously blamed for something they have no control over.
Fact: 100% of legitimate authors would pull the plug on a project rather than hang their readers out to dry.