Friday, March 28, 2008

We are not amused--veinglory Telling POD Publishers - Let BookSurge Print Your Books, or Else...
by Angela Hoy -- WritersWeekly
"Some Print on Demand (POD) publishers are privately screaming "Monopoly!" while others are seething with rage over startling phone conversations they're having with Amazon/BookSurge representatives."

Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge
by Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly
"BookSurge, Amazon’s print-on-demand subsidiary, is making an offer that most publishers would like to refuse, but don’t feel they can. According to talks with several pod houses, BookSurge has told them that unless their titles are printed by BookSurge, the buy buttons on Amazon for their titles will be disabled."

It seems that buy links have already been removed from all Publish America books. Much as I am not a fan of Publish America (their press release on this issue is pure bollocks and bombast) I see this as probably a sign of things to come for the rest of us, self-, small press or in anyway POD published by non-Booksurge sources.

Amazon pulls a Microsoft
by Robert L Mitchell -- Computerworld
"One competitor to BookSurge claims that the print-on-demand business' prices are already higher than those of competitors. If Amazon can use its market power to move more business to BookSurge, the move could hurt competing print-on-demand services and drive up costs for publishers. This carrot and stick approach could allow Amazon to create a captive audience, allowing it to raise prices further for its print-on-demand services."

Amazon Tightens Grip on Printing
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg -- Wall Street Journal
" Inc., flexing its muscles as a major book retailer, notified publishers who print books on demand that they will have to use its on-demand printing facilities if they want their books directly sold on Amazon's Web site."

At this point I am suggesting a moratorium. I will not be purchasing from Amazon at least for a while. Let's see how this goes.

I also suggest that people blog about this, link to others posts, and make direct complaints by whatever means you have available to you. And if you can manage it, a moratorium on Amazon purchases. And not only those of you likely to be directly effected. I have already seen many small presses just reply that they are not effected. Not today, perhaps.

But two years ago ebook writers were dropped unless they paid to be distributed by Mobi-Pocket. Nobody cared because it was just ebooks. Most authors, including self-published authors, didn't care too much about ebooks. This is where it got us. The Mobi-purge developed this 'vertical integration by monopoly and anti-trust' approach. Now it is rolling out. It will only get harder to stop the longer it is allowed to go on. First ebooks, then POD books, then audiobooks (they own Audible, remember?)... then the whole damn book-world?

See also:
Bully on the Block?
Amazon Tightens Noose on Print-On-Demand Publishers; Insists They Use Company's Own Service
Amazon blocking books of competitive publishers?
Amazon Puts the Squeeze on Publishers
Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge
The monopolists: You need to worry about Amazon too

p.s. Message to Mr. Young from Lulu: Don't cave.


meika said...

I read the Angela Hoy article the other day and thought, mmmh, boycott 'em. I'll wait for the dust to settle a bit, but there will be no going back.

A. F. Stewart said...

If you want to voice your protest against what Amazon is doing, please sign the petition:

Anonymous said...

A good case can be made that what Amazon is attempting to do violates anti-trust laws. Waiting for federal anti-trust action would take many years--years to get the Justice Department to act, years of trials, years of fussing over what the court decision means. Notice how long it took to deal with Microsoft's tactics, despite the fact that the corporations they were bullying were large and powerful. None of us can afford that long a wait.

Action at the state level, however, could move much faster, particularly if it involves off-the-record contact and a somber warning from those who can make trouble for Amazon. Amazon is headquartered in Seattle about a ten minute drive from the office of the Antitrust division of the Washington state attorney general. Here's the contact information:

Office of the Attorney General

Antitrust Division

800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000

Seattle, WA 98104-3188

Telephone: 206-587-5510

Fax: 206-464-6338

Note the remark on that web page that "The Antitrust Division only processes complaints that involve either Washington State residents or businesses located in Washington State." Amazon is in Washington state, so it matters not where you are. You might also want to raise the issue with your state attorney general's antitrust office, asking them to get in touch with their colleagues in Seattle. If you're a publisher, encourage your authors to write. If you're an author, encourage other writers to contact them.

Shannon Yarbrough said... if a class action lawsuit comes into play, some POD authors could stand to finally make a profit...or at least make back their investment! Or at least make a buck cause there's millions of us and you know the payout will be tiny! That'll be the day....geez....

Anonymous said...

No one should cave in to these Mafia tactics. The Washington State AG has been informed (Amazon clearly hoped to have this all sewn up before the law got involved). My publisher, Outskirts Press, is so far refusing to cave. We Must Stand Firm!

Mrs. G.