Friday, March 28, 2008

Amazon - The Five Hundred Pound Gorilla

Oh dear, it's a sad day when I find myself agreeing with PublishAmerica.

"PublishAmerica will not comply with Amazon's ultimatum, and will not allow that company to dictate who will print PublishAmerica's books, and at what conditions."

The fuss is over Amazon's decision to require their POD (print-on-demand) publishers to produce their books through Amazon's own POD supplier, BookSurge. You don't print through them, Amazon will disable the BUY button on your book's page. Lovely. So if you decide you wish to have Lightning Source,, etal., print your books, Amazon will cut you off at the knees. You still can be part of their Amazon Marketplace ($29.95 per year and 55% discount on retail price plus cost of shipping to Amazon). Trust me, you don't make money that way.

If you print through BookSurge, Amazon will assess a printing fee for the book, a set-up charge ($55) and still lop 48% off the top. At present they're waiving the $55 set-up fee to encourage folks to take part in their generous offer. To add insult and annoyance, BookSurge's specs are different than Lightning Source and some of the others, so not only do you have to set up the book twice (and yes, this does take some time) but you have to maintain two different file configurations lest you need to make changes down the line. What a freakin' bite.

An excellent, though long, article on the changes can be found at Writer's Weekly.

I've seen a few of BookSurge's creations. Other POD publishers do a better job. Lightning Source's work used to be so-so. They've improved and's is very good. I know Amazon wants to ensure their investment in BookSurge was a sound decision. Pissing off your existing customers to make a few more bucks is never a bright move.

I'll be writing their investment department, letting them know I think this is a bone-headed stunt. And if they proceed, I will vote with my dollars. There are other places I can purchase my books. Respect goes both ways.

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