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28 March 2008 @ 05:09 pm
This news has just recently been exploding across news sites, blogs and writers' message boards. It sounds like has really stuck its foot in its mouth.

Here are a bunch of the articles:

Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge (at Publishers Weekly)

Amazon Tightens Grip on Printing (at The Wall Street Journal) Telling POD Publishers - Let BookSurge Print Your Books, or Else... (at Writers Weekly)

In case you were wondering, POD books are print-on-demand. Much of the POD market works with a printer called Lightning Source. Booksurge is a rival POD printer owned by Amazon. POD is a printing method used by individual self-publishing authors, by various vanity presses ranging from scum like Publish America to relatively benign entities such as Lulu, and POD is also used by legitimate, royalty-paying publishers, mostly tiny ones such as Samhain, but also to a limited extent by big publishers who are afraid of running out of books between print runs.

In other words, this monopoly-like action by could impact a lot of authors, especially those who are financially most vulnerable: those who are published by a very small press, those who fell into the net of a vanity publisher, and those who self-publish alone.

These claims from Angela Hoy's article are the most disturbing:

"Amazon/BookSurge would make money two ways on sales - first the fee for printing the books, and then 48% of the list price of each sale through Lightning Source allows its customers to set their own discount rate for Amazon and other retail sales, and does not force POD publishers or authors to pay "48%."

Furthermore, it could take the larger POD publishers months to submit their book files to Amazon/BookSurge, at a considerable cost and number of man-hours. This makes the deal even less attractive. Finally, while the initial list of books submitted by POD publishers could be submitted to Amazon/BookSurge for free, the contract states future books would cost $50 each to process. The cost for individual authors to publish through BookSurge is considerably more, with an average publishing package cost of more than $1,000.

Since Amazon/BookSurge does not offer Ingram distribution (Ingram distribution is considered imperative in the industry for bookstore sales), any company that accepts the Amazon/BookSurge deal, who desires to keep offering Ingram distribution, may need to maintain two copies of the book files. Since the Amazon/BookSurge current specs don't match the Lightning Source specs, future book files, both interior and cover, may need to be formatted separately. So, they would have to pay double the setup fees and might have to do double the formatting work as well...or pay designers to do double the formatting work."

This is all very disturbing. I like I find it to be a great source for obscure/weird/rare books, I like their easy-to-use website, and I love their affiliate program (I currently make about $400 a year profit from websites I've put a lot of work into, such as The Cryptid Zoo). I don't want to become the bad guy.

But, if this doesn't stop, I think they will become the bad guy. The Angela Hoy article lists a bunch of different ways you can complain if you want to give up this stupid plan (scroll down to the bottom of the article, just before the comments start).

Current Mood: angryangry