Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is a SCAM and a MASSIVE Waste of Money – THE TRUTH


It’s about time somebody told the truth about what a complete waste of time and money Amazon Marketing Services is for authors trying to promote their Kindle books.
I’ve used this service now since before Christmas and tried various different methods such as choosing keywords (based on extensive research), sponsored ads and permutations thereof.
The end result is simple, I’ve spent a fortune for very, very meagre results.
I have to tell you this, I stopped JUST IN TIME!
For the moment I can just afford the Amazon Marketing Services Bill from the profits because I’m fortunate enough to have an EXCELLENT PRODUCT PAGE and PAPERBACK versions of all my books to support the MASSIVE LOSS I’ve made on Kindle Books.
If you are looking to promote your Kindle book or books DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY on Amazon Marketing Services.


You may be looking at the image and the figures and thinking, “hey that doesn’t look so bad” but the truth is that all those sales represent sales of paperback books which generate a fairly decent amount of profit. However, the main reason to use Amazon Marketing Services is supposed to be to generate Kindle sales. You cannot select paperback books and AMS is only accessible from Kindle Direct Publishing. If you don’t have paperback versions of the Kindle books you are advertizing then forget it, you might as well flush your money down the toilet. For the eight months we’ve been using Amazon Marketing Services we have shown a 0% increase in Kindle book sales, we were shifting about the same amount ourselves.


There are a lot of people discovering the exact same thing, I’m not alone in this but other blog posts will tell you to stick at it, change your keywords or improve your product page but we’ve done all those things and more. All our keywords have been thoroughly researched and tested using various paid and free tools and you can see from the figures that we generate a massive amount of impressions. Impressions are good though right? Of course not, do you remember the name of the sponsored product that popped up next to the product you were actually looking at? No, nobody is interested unless they buy. Let’s look at the maths. Since we started advertizing we’ve had 1,828,001 impressions resulting in about $30 of sales.


This is pitiful and to put it simply, it just doesn’t work. People may be shopping on Amazon and buying products they weren’t necessarily looking for but certainly not enough to justify the price per keyword. And what’s this? Look at the average price per click here, that’s almost 50c! We must have set the maximum price per click (the bid) at something like a dollar a click to win that bid eh? Again, no. The maximum price was set to 25c, the price recommended by AMS but they just decided to ignore that completely. Because of the delay in reporting (THREE DAYS!!!), we’d spent a small fortune winning those useless bids and for what returns? Yep, you guessed it…0 SALES!

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Another thing worth bearing in mind is that you cannot make a large profit on Kindle books. You choose the percentage profit 30 or 70% and whether you pay the delivery costs. Then you set the price of the book. Obviously, as a self-published author who has to do the majority of the marketing yourself you can’t charge enough to make enough of a profit to justify wasting it on futile Amazon Marketing Campaigns.


This month we’ve spent over $50 on AMS and it has generated about $10 of kindle book sales. We actually sold more copies before we began using it. Thanks for nothing Amazon. My advice to anyone thinking of using AMS to promote kindle books is DO NOT USE AMAZON MARKETING SERVICES, look at other ways of promoting your book, like Adwords or Facebook Marketing, instead.

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Have you had a similar experience with Amazon Marketing Services or have you actually managed to sell some books?
We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

All the best,

Mark Watson



5 Replies to “Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is a SCAM and a MASSIVE Waste of Money – THE TRUTH”

  1. Jason

    Hmm, ams ads are working great for me. Making anywhere from 4 to 10 times return on investment. It has a few quirks but is highly profitable when done properly

  2. Kevin

    Yes. This is all completely true. You should all stop using AMS ads *immediately*. Complete scam.

    If you stop now, it will lower the cost per click I am paying for MY ads. Which I run on all 36 of my titles. Every one of which is at least breaking even. 😉

    If you’re not seeing a profit on your AMS ads, it’s because *you* are doing it wrong, folks. Not because the ad system is inherently bad. Yes, ads are hard. Yes, there is learning involved. You’ll find the same thing with Facebook ads (where I see a 200-300% ROI routinely), Twitter ads, Adsense ads, Bookbub pay per impression ads, and just about any other pay per click/impression type of ad.

    They all require effort to learn. They require testing to excel at. This takes work.

    If you’re seeing bad results from AMS ads – which are complex, but are dollar for dollar THE MOST EFFECTIVE way to market a book available to any author alive today – then don’t blame the ads. Go back and do the work required to learn to do them better.

    Or don’t. Cancel the ads. Makes my life easier, and my ads even more profitable than they already are…

    1. rosesarehappy

      Kevin, please contact me, I’d love to discuss what you are doing vs what I’m doing on FB ads. AMS ads work OK for me. But I’ve never had any success with FB ads.

  3. shawninmon

    A) Nice clickbait title. B) If something doesn’t work for you, it must not work for anyone, eh? C) Thanks for writing this. I hope it scares enough people away from AMS ads that my own CPC will drop a bit. Much appreciated.

  4. Ann Witherington

    Hi Mark,

    I had my book published with Amazon in 2014. It,s my autobiography, I do realise unless your a celebrity, it,s very difficult to have a lot of interest shown. Think to date, have sold 54. So disappointed as it cost me £2000 for proof reader + publishing. Think my book would make a good film. But with no more funds to promote it, everything has come to a standstill. Hope one day I will be in a better financial position. It,s so good you are bringing this to the publics attention.

    Kind regards

    Ann Witherington.


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