Is Amazon Smacking The Little Guy?

3 04 2008

Something is going on with Amazon. As I know a lot of young, aspiring writers (hell, I’m sorta one. More of a carnival barker but hell, you gotta have dreams) this whole Amazon thing is disturbing on a few levels.

First, courtesy of our own beloved Aunt B., we head here. (NSDQ: AMZN) is now doing some damage control over its plans to control its print-on-demand value chain, and has issued an open letter to the industry, posted here. It has recently issued a policy telling such publishers that they will have to use its on-demand printing facilities if they want their books directly sold on Amazon’s website.

Umm, okay. Wait. Huh?

There is a new blog that’s keeping a running list about what’s going on called Amazon Troop Surge. Apparently Lulu has signed the contract agreement and there is news about other things going on there as well. They also list seven reasons to boycott Amazon.

Then let’s look here we’re there is more of a breakdown about Print On Demand authors. If you aren’t familiar with POD, then go here to our good friend Kathy T. who released two books last year on Lulu.

This is an interesting situation because it sparks many questions. First of all, is Amazon trying to set up a monopoly?  Second of all, how will small publishers deal with this? 

POD is an interesting concept that has proven successful for some. First time publishers could get their work out in print. How is Amazon’s recent announcement going to effect them. It’s easier and more cost-effective because a book isn’t printed until it’s ordered.

Out of the UK:

“They told us that if our books are not converted to BookSurge, they would turn off our ‘buy buttons’ on Amazon,” says Angela Hoy of Booklocker, a tiny publisher based in Bangor, Maine.

Hoy also runs WritersWeekly, an e-zine dedicated to freelance writing, and late last week, she leaked word of Amazon’s new policy to the web at large. Within 24 hours, a story turned up in The Wall Street Journal.

Countless other publishers have received a similar ultimatum from BookSurge sales reps, and in the case of PublishAmerica, Amazon went ahead and turned off those buy buttons before the publisher had a chance to answer.

With print-on-demand, publishers needn’t print a book until a customer actually orders one. This means that smaller outfits like Booklocker and PublishAmerica can market titles without spending countless dollars on copies that may never sell.

In the past, Booklocker did its print-on-demand printing through BookSurge. But the company now uses Lightning Source, a BookSurge competitor owned by Ingram Industries Inc. “BookSurge was the first printer to print our books, and they were horrible,” Hoy told us. “We lost authors because of them. We had upside-down pages. We had missing pages. We had broken bindings. This was a while ago, but things got so bad, we fired them and hired Lightning Source.”

Something to watch, campers, especially if you are considering printing your own book.

What is Amazon doing here?




5 responses

3 04 2008

What is Amazon doing? Anything they can to satisfy stockholders rather than customers (any type of customer).

3 04 2008

I knew you’d have the answer. 🙂

3 04 2008

Just one more way that big companies try to make self publishing an exclusive and expensive project. screw amazon

3 04 2008
Kathy Tyson

Ya know what? My books aren’t on amazon because I’ve not picked up the ISBN on them yet. And they’re selling just fine, thank you. I’m with Cravens… screw amazon!!!

3 04 2008

You were the first one I thought about. I need to buy another Wrinkles from you.
I figured if anyone would know about it on the front lines, it would be my Kathy T.

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