Sunday, 30 March 2008

Are Amazon and Booksurge bullies?

Amazon is currently busy ruining the ability for self-published authors to sell on their retail site. Unless of course they have published through their new company, BookSurge. What is even more insidious is they are actually trying to blackmail their rivals, (sites like Lulu.com, iUnverse, etc.), into using the BookSurge printing service.
How are they doing this, you ask? It's simple.
Most self-published authors use a subsidy publisher; the author pays for the cost to assemble the book(stuff like editing, cover art, etc), and the subsidy publisher takes care of the printing (usually Print-on-Demand, which basically means
a copy of the book is printed as it is purchased) and distribution (usually to places such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble). Amazon's BookSurge is one of these subsidy publishers, and unlike other subsidy publishers (who outsource the printing, mostly to Lightning Source) it has its own POD printing service.
This is how Amazon is extorting the other publishers. Amazon is telling subsidy publishers, if you are
not currently using BookSource as your printing service, your authors will not be able to sell on Amazon. They are actually disabling buy buttons for these books; PublishAmerica and Whiskey Press are the first victms.
If this continues, BookSurge will be the only one who gets to sell on Amazon; very convenient for Amazon.
At the very least this is a conflict of interest, at worst it is an illegal monopoly, extortion, and market fixing.

In the interest of being fair I emailed Amazon.com to see what they had to say on the matter.
Here is the email I sent:
"I would like to know if your company is seriously considering forcing independent, Print-on-Demand publishing companies, to use BookSurge. Even going so far as to threaten to disable the Amazon buy buttons on their titles if they do not comply.
Don't you realise the damage to authors this policy will wreak, or the fact you are leaving yourselves wide open to charges of illegal monopoly?"

This is their reply:
"Thank you for writing to Amazon.com

If you are interested in printing books on demand, we strongly recommend you work with BookSurge, an Amazon.com Company which offers complete publishing and printing services for authors and publishers. Whether your book manuscript is a ready-to-print finished PDF file or a working draft requiring editing, illustration and printing services, we've got the resources you need to get your book into distribution cost effectively.

BookSurge will be able to assist you with the preparation of your title(s) and, once ready, can print on demand as you require, including quick fulfillment for orders placed on Amazon.com. In the future, you will be able to manage your account with physical books or print on demand books with BookSurge through the Advantage interface. You can find more information about BookSurge here:

http://www.booksurge.com

If you have further questions about BookSurge after reviewing the web site above, please feel free to write to customerservice@booksurge.com.


Best regards,

Ajeeth
Amazon.com Customer Service
http://www.amazon.com "

So do you think Amazon is in full marketing mode or what?

It was this email, and the callous disregard of my concerns that promoted me to create an online petition to fight Amazon and BookSurge.

If you want to sign, you can go here:

Stop the BookSurge Monopoly


Thursday, 27 March 2008

Theresa Chaze to Guest on this blog!

Theresa Chaze will be a guest here on my blog, April 4th, as a stop on her virtual book tour.

She will be discussing her new ebook, From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book, a book that discusses in depth writing tips, copyright and publishing issues, and marketing.

Lijit Search