The POD Wars

Hi Writers,
The publishing community is in a virtual tizzy over Amazon’s recent announcement that they will require all POD (print on demand) books to be published by Amazon’s subsidiary POD company BookSurge.

Publishers Weekly has been keeping up with the story. Here’s the first of a series of articles: Amazon to Force POD Publishers to use BookSurge.

I have no doubt that many of our readers will be affected by this new situation. And because many POD companies, including BookSurge, are among our advertisers, I’m withholding my own opinion on this issue.

But I’m curious to know what you think. Will you be affected by Amazon’s recent move? What do you think about this latest publishing controversy?

Keep Writing,
Maria

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7 thoughts on “The POD Wars

  1. David Alderman

    Wow. This is actually the first I have heard of this and I have to say I don’t agree with it at all. I have finally nestled in with the POD publisher Lulu.com and am very happy with their quality and service. To be honest, the links to my website don’t even link to Amazon at the moment because I make more money having readers purchase my books directly from Lulu’s website as opposed to Amazon. I don’t agree with Amazon doing this and if it ends up resulting in the books I already have on their site being pulled, than so be it. I am happy with my POD and will continue to support them by having my readers go to them to purchase my items as opposed to sending them to Amazon.com.

  2. Leigh Ann

    I just e-mailed Amazon. (If you click on "Help" in the upper right corner and then look on the right side of the page, there’s a "Contact Us" link.) I have yet to hear Amazon’s side of the story. So I asked for it. I will be interested to hear what they have to say.

    If anyone has links to articles that present a balanced view, telling both sides, I, for one, would be very interested to read them.

  3. Helen Gallagher

    Glad to chime in here on this hot topic. I have links on my blog (shown below) to aggregated diaries of strife on the issue, as well as a link sent to me late yesterday by the Washington Attorney General’s Antitrust division. This is a serious matter for all writers, not just those who use print-on-demand.

    One analogy I’ve seen puts it in perspective:
    Let’s say you have a toy company, and you want to sell your toys through Amazon. They allow it for years, you build a following, you support their site, and one day they say you can only continue selling through Amazon if you let them manufacturer your products, and give them 48 percent commission.

    That’s what Amazon is doing by saying they will only carry POD books if their own subsidiary, Book Surge, gets paid to print the books, and uses Amazon’s format, which requires a different set-up than is used elsewhere in the industry. For each POD firm, they would need two versions of every book, and would have to pay Amazon to convert existing titles. Some of the POD firms have 20,000 titles in print and would go broke turning their business into an Amazon feeder.

    My publisher says only two POD firms have caved in so far, and the rest are refusing, and waiting/hoping the government stops this aggressive tactic by Amazon. I’ve joined with many other authors in removing links to Amazon from my site, and have stopped purchasing books from them.

    My further info is at releaseyourwriting.blogspot.com with a link to more facts and resources.

    Maria, thanks for posting and giving writers a forum to discuss this strange tactic.

  4. J. M. D.

    This smacks of the type of monopolies that companies were trying to get at the turn of the 20th century. I think this should be legally looked into by publishers, writers, and the government.

  5. Michele

    Personally, I think that Amazon might (and possibly should) lose business over this tactic. It’s smacks of the same bundling tactics used and enforced by Microsoft with their web browser. It limits writers to a market which is no longer competitive, fair, or practical. I must admit that my first thought when I read the announcement here–the first time I had heard it–was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. As well as the decision that I will not use Booksurge for any of my POD publications. I do not like being told that I will be limited in my choices regardless of how good the product might be. Yes, they are possibly within their rights as a company to do this. But morally? Who’s to say. I don’t agree with the move and will not support it.

    M

  6. Ann Brandt

    My recent book–A Caregiver’s Story: Coping with a Loved One’s Life-Threatening Illness, iuniverse, December 2007–came out quite satisfactory in terms of quality and attractiveness of cover. But, in light of this recent news, I would be wary of using a POD again. Unless, if we look at this in another light, words from authors force Book Surge to take a look at their quality of products.

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