So I’m told that as an author and an academic, the online presence I present to the world is something I should cultivate and curate carefully, and as the lead editor of two book projects, Innovating EFL Teaching in Asia (2011) and Exploring EFL Fluency in Asia (2014), I’ve taken this advice and created this site and an author page at Amazon.com, among other things (such as my Twitter account). The complication is that while Amazon.com is excellent for reaching the North American market, the titles of the two books I’ve been involved in, and one of the journals I work with, the Asian ESP Journal, include a name for a part of the world that is actually quite distant from North America, ‘Asia’.
So, as I’m based in Japan, I resolved to tackle the task of creating myself an Amazon Japan author page back around the time our first book came out toward the end of 2011/the beginning of 2012. Here it is. I realize it’s ultimately some button I pushed by accident, but you’ll notice that there’s a problem with the page, as it isn’t me, but one of my coeditors, a frequent copresenter and coauthor, and friend, Dr. John Adamson (I add the italics because that’s the way I say it when I introduce him). As much as I like and respect John, he’s not me, and so with our second book coming out in September, I thought I would revisit Amazon Japan’s author central site and try to resolve the problem. Unfortunately there’s no way to update your profile and change your name. You can upload a picture, and add a link to a blog site, but you can’t change your actual name.
No problem, I think. Amazon is a global company that is interested in marketing all kinds of books (and other things) to all kinds of places, and Amazon Japan lists our books, so they should be able to take responsibility for accurately portraying the identities of the authors of those books, right? Wrong. Here’s the message I sent them:
When I log into my author page, I'm listed as Dr. John Adamson, but I'm Theron Muller, not John. He is a Coeditor on two books we have worked on together, but I'm not sure how to change my name in my author profile. Please advise.
And here’s their response:
Thank you for contacting us at Amazon.co.jp. Author Pages and Author Central is only available in Japanese, and we can only support Japanese books at this point. We don't provide English support at this time. Additionally, please note that Author Central does not support English Kindle books. I apologize if this is an inconvenience. Thank you for shopping at Amazon.
To their credit, they replied in less than an hour, but to my surprise they are not only unwilling to help me in English, but their policy is that they won’t help me in any language because they “can only support Japanese books,” so although they sell the books I’m coeditor of (something I’m grateful for—before them ordering English books in Japan was a nightmare), there’s no way for me to resolve this ongoing problem of mistaken identity I appear to have on my author page for their site. And hence this blog. I’ll add an update if the problem is ever resolved.