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D&D 5E Weirdness with Amazon and Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

Abstruse

Legend
While editing this week's podcast, I came across something weird going on with the listings for Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft on Amazon.

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Namely, it's not there anymore. That's the Wizards RPG Team author page sorted by publication date, which should have Van Richten's Guide at the top. It doesn't. It doesn't have it anywhere else on the page either. Nor is it in the slider at the top of the page. Curious...

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Search results looking for "Van Richten's Guide to Everything" also doesn't show the main product page for the book. Just a third-party listing for the alternate "game store exclusive" cover at an incredibly marked-up price and a bunch of bundles with Magic: The Gathering Adventures in Forgotten Realms card sets before you start getting into other D&D books and old AD&D Ravenloft sourcebooks.

And I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on with this...until I switched to Firefox to see if it was an issue with Chrome and it turns out it was...kind of...

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This is what the results look like if you don't have an adblocker turned on. The only listings available for Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft are "Sponsored". The way Sponsored listings work on Amazon is a "pay-per-click" system where the publisher signs up for the program and then pays Amazon for every person that clicks on the Sponsored post within the results. So what it appears has happened is that Amazon removed all listings and search results from Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft - including off of the Wizards RPG Team author page - so the only way to pre-order the book through Amazon is by clicking on a Sponsored link.

Oh, and did you notice the "Kindle Edition" in the search results? Here's the product page for that:

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This is a scam. Wizards of the Coast does not release Kindle versions of their game books. The only digital versions available are through D&D Beyond or from virtual tabletop partners like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. They don't even sell 5e books through DM's Guild. Also, this listing credits "Juliet McMullen" as the author. This is the only book listed if you click to the author page, and a quick Google search only turns up an Anthropology professor at the University of California: Riverside and a Sales Engineer's Linkedin page. You'll also note it is only 14 pages long and has a "Publication Date" a full six days before the official release date of May 18. How this is still up on Amazon, I have no idea. But it's likely fooling a lot of people considering it is the only current listing for Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft that is not a Sponsored listing or a bundle with Magic: The Gathering cards. Update: I checked again and this appears to have been taken down as of 7:30 AM Central time on May 15.

The good news is that normal links to the Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft product listing like this one still work and important for freelancers like me, the Affiliate Account links also still work like this one, which earns me a slight commission on each sale. So at least none of the links from stories the past couple of months are broken even if you can't find the actual page by navigating or searching anymore.
 
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Abstruse

Legend
BTW, I took a look at the preview for the "Kindle Version" and the text reads like gibberish. It's like someone had an AI write a synopsis of an American action movie then ran it through Google Translate about a dozen times.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yeah, something's off. Either Amazon is playing around with their format/algorithms, or WotC is. This is what I get when I sort by publication date (recent to latest);

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Plus, some books like Candlekeep mysteries aren't appearing in search.

I may check it every few days, I wonder if WotC are trying to put up a new placeholder for an upcoming book or something...
 



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