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Deal Breaker? Amazon - BookSurge - POD - No Choice?

by Mark on March 28th, 2008

Duncan says: “Amazon has announced that it will only sell print-on-demand books printed by its own print-on-demand service BookSurge.”

I didn’t see his source for the announcement so I did a little digging…

Jumped over to Crunchbase and found a link to Techmeme then another link to paidContent and finally found reference there to WritersWeekly. I might have eliminated the middlemen had I known that Angela Hoy had commented on Duncan’s original post - but what do I know? lol…

Angela gets down to the nitty gritty of this deal, beginning with;

“BREAKING DEVELOPMENT: We were notified by a PublishAmerica author that her book was available for purchase through Amazon on Tuesday but today the “buy” button for her book on Amazon is gone. We researched some other PublishAmerica books and it appears the “buy” button on Amazon has indeed been removed from the vast majority of their book pages.

Yeah, I suppose that would get your attention, wouldn’t it?

Quickly, Angela tells us;

“Reports have been trickling in from the POD underground that Amazon/BookSurge representatives have been approaching some Lightning Source customers, first by email introduction and then by phone (nobody at BookSurge seems to want to put anything in writing). When Lightning Source customers speak with the BookSurge representative, the reports say, they are basically told they can either have BookSurge start printing their books or the ‘buy’ button on their Amazon.com book pages will be ‘turned off.’”

Anne, did you know there is a POD underground?

Angela was able to take this to a phone conversation with John Clifford of Amazon/BookSurge at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, 2008. She mentioned to John “we heard a rumor that POD publishers who didn’t use BookSurge would have the ‘buy’ button on their Amazon.com book pages turned off.” In quite the “political” manner, John replied “What? Who told you that? That’s not true!”

Later, in the same conversation, he amended that when he “finally admitted that books not converted to BookSurge would have the ‘buy’ button turned off on Amazon.com, just as we’d heard from several other POD publishers who had similar conversations with Amazon/BookSurge representatives.”

Angela gives us quite a bit more in her article. I’d suggest giving it a good read. I’m not here to pass judgment, but this feels like it would make those using POD and selling at Amazon extremely uncomfortable not to mention the loss of profits.

Tags: , , POD Publishers, Print On Demand

POSTED IN: Online Money, Resources, Web Happenings

15 opinions for Deal Breaker? Amazon - BookSurge - POD - No Choice?

  • ats
    Mar 29, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Monopoly? I’ve compiled multiple articles and commentary on this on my blog -

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  • Aaron Shepard
    Mar 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

    You might be interested in the post on this issue on my Publishing Blog, “Amazon Declares War on Lightning Source.”


    Aaron Shepard
    Author, Aiming at Amazon
    Webmaster, Sales Rank Express

  • Mark
    Mar 31, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Wow… it’s reached the level of war? That’s pretty strong.

  • Jean Murray
    Mar 31, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    My friend Kathy Hendershot-Hurd over at Beyond Niche Marketing has a LONG list of bloggers commenting on this story: http://beyondnichemarketing.com/2008/03/30/amazons-blatant-disrespect-of-their-best-customers/
    As for me, I’m switching to Barnes and Noble.

  • Rebecca
    Mar 31, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Ummm…so you all don’t take this part of the
    statement at face value? I know nothing about this business model and so I ask those who know:

    What is not being explained that should be if you don’t trust this assurance: (Thanks!)

    Source: Amazon’s Open Letter

    “Another question we’ve seen: Do I need to switch completely to having my POD titles printed at Amazon?

    “No, there is no request for exclusivity. **Any publisher can use Amazon’s POD service just for those units that ship from Amazon and continue to use a different POD service provider for distribution through other channels.**

    “Alternatively, **you can use a different POD service provider for all your units. In that case, we ask that you pre-produce a small number of copies of each title (typically five copies), and send those to us in advance (Amazon Advantage Program-successfully used by thousands of big and small publishers).**

    “We will inventory those copies. That small cache of inventory allows us to provide the same rapid fulfillment capability to our customers that we would have if we were printing the titles ourselves on POD printing machines located inside our fulfillment centers. Unlike POD, this alternative is not completely “inventoryless.” However, as a practical matter, five copies is a small enough quantity that it is economically close to an inventoryless model.”

  • Mark
    Mar 31, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Erm… Amazon? Helloooooo. Anyone paying attention? This outcry is an awful lot louder than the recent eBay flap, BY FAR!

    Rebecca, I’m sorry but I don’t quite understand your comment.

    Edited 04/01 - Now I understand Rebecca - the reference you provided was the open letter URL but it was truncated. I’ve edited it in to your comment and am suggesting all read it. Thanks Rebecca :)

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  • Anne Wayman
    Apr 8, 2008 at 7:13 am

    No, I didn’t know there was a pod underground, although I suppose there’s an underground for almost everything.

    Angela is an excellent source and I totally trust her.

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