Thursday, March 27, 2008

Amazon/Goliath takes on the little guys

My publisher, Virtual Bookworm, Inc. alerted me today that Amazon's BookSurge POD subsidiary is using a rather strong-armed tactic to gain more control over the growing success of self-publishing:

Print-on-demand is taking a real beating today with news that Amazon is planning to require that POD firms print their books through Amazon's BookSurge instead of Lightning Source, the industry standard. Amazon will charge our publishers a fee for uploading the book, will require it in a different format than we currently have, and wants a greedy 48 percent of sales!!

Here are two links on the topic - it does not bode well for self-published authors, but it may get settled in some less dramatic way than Amazon's "winner take all" strategy.

http://www.fonerbooks.com/2008/03/new-amazon-mandate-say-it-aint-so-jeff.html

http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/004597_03272008.html


While working through the issues, I'm writing to Amazon's senior management, and am taking the Amazon links off my books on all my web sites and external resources. People can still purchase all of our books through the publisher, and the many other online retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, Target, etc.

Stay tuned...
Helen

3 comments:

Technology tools for learning, work, and leisure said...

Helen
Thank you so much for alerting us about the strong-arm tactics of Amazon. I believe that by making these tactics public, writers and POD publishers can work together to resist the Amazon monopoly.
Dr. Jeanne Beckman
http://unitedagainstbullies.blogspot.com

Kristin Alexander said...

Dear Helen,

The Washington Attorney General’s Antitrust Division has received several inquiries and concerns regarding the new “print on demand” or “POD” policy recently implemented by Amazon.com. Individuals who have contacted our office claim that Amazon is engaging in “monopolistic practices.” I wanted to take this opportunity to update you and your readers of our office’s work regarding this issue.

As with all complaints regarding a business, we have advised Amazon.com of these concerns and have asked the company to respond to us. In the meantime, the Antitrust Division is conducting an initial review of the marketplace and will respond more fully once that review is complete.

In order for the Attorney General’s Office or another enforcement agency to take action on an antitrust law violation, a court must be convinced that a company has attempted to monopolize a relevant market or is attempting to exclude others from a market it has already monopolized. The relevant market is judged not only in terms of what products are in question, but the geographic service area in which competitors compete.

If it is determined that the markets involved are national in scope, it may be more appropriate to refer this matter to one of the federal antitrust agencies for review.

You may wish to direct your readers to our Web site at www.atg.wa.gov/amazonpod.aspx where this information is currently posted.

Kindest regards,

Kristin Alexander
Seattle Media Relations Manager
Washington State Attorney General's Office
2654

Anonymous said...

now I know it!