Thursday, April 03, 2008

Amazon Stomping on POD Publishers

In case you haven't heard, Amazon is becoming a bully with POD publishers.

(I've provided Tiny URLs for the URLs that break over a line, so if the URL doesn't click properly, use the Tiny URL - it will work!)

In Writer's

And similarly in Publisher's Weekly:

I originally saw these articles on the Hatrack Writers forum. What they're saying is that Amazon is trying to force the POD businesses to use BookSurge, which is Amazon's POD business. I checked into BookSurge when I was researching printers as I worked to upgrade my book business, and as the first article says, BookSurge's deal isn't so good. The publishers mentioned so far are all, as far as I know, "vanity" or "subsidy" presses that will print anything for anybody, and they seem to be Amazon's initial targets. But small independent presses won't be far behind, I suspect.

Whimsy Hill Publishing is a "small independent press" which isn't the same thing as a subsidy press, according to the industry. Should Amazon decide to turn off my "buy" button on Star Sons, there are already resellers listed on the page, AND Barnes and Noble not only has Star Sons but my sculpting book listed (and it's just going through the second proof stage, not really on the market yet!), so those who want to buy my books have options even without the Amazon "Buy" button.

All is not lost even if Amazon decides to get tough with small presses like mine. We can just take our business elsewhere, both selling and buying. can do the same things as Amazon, so why let Amazon have a monopoly?

Amazon is not only trying to force POD publishers to use BookSurge, but they're also trying to force those of us with books on their site to become "Amazon Associates." That sounds so nice and friendly, but in truth, it costs quite a bit of money per month to belong to it. There was a technical glitch on Amazon when "Star Sons" was available for sale (it was fine in the pre-publication days), and every time I tried to get technical help, I was told I should join the Amazon Associates program. I finally found a techie who could help with the problem, but it took a LOT of doing. So Amazon is being a bully in more ways than one.

Feel free to look at the articles llisted above and below and study all the related materials. Those of us who are serious about becoming successful as writers and publishers need to be well-informed about the publishing business. The interesting thing is, even a lot of the big publishers have some books printed via POD technology, so if Amazon escalates to their level, Amazon's going to be stepping on some very large and powerful toes.

I didn't like the BookSurge business model nor their very very VERY pushy salespeople way back last year - I'm SURE I wouldn't like them now! Lightning Source is taking good care of my business and we can set our own discounts and other fees to suit us, not be forced into a specific discount by Amazon. So I'm not gonna worry about Amazon if they get tough - I'll just slam the door on my way out and never buy anything from them again. If enough of us do so, they'll get the message.

More articles have popped up since the initial ones emerged. Here are links to just a few of them: (This one has a response from Ingrams and Lightning Source, the main targets of Amazon's attempted takeover of the Print on Demand business via their BookSurge subsidiary.) And this one has links to TONS of these articles and is kept updated. It would be worthwhile to keep an eye on this site (which belongs to BookLocker.)