Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon Tightens the Screws on POD Publishers

According to The Wall Street Journal,, who is “flexing its muscles as a major book retailer, notified publishers who print books on demand that they will have to use its on-demand printing facilities if they want their books directly sold on Amazon's Web site.”

In other words, if you’re a publisher who uses Print On Demand technology and plan to offer a particular book that way, you’ll have to use Amazon’s BookSurge POD unit – and you’ll have to abide by Amazon’s pricing.

Computerworld called Amazon’s move “a further consolidation of power by Amazon as it continues to vertically integrate its book selling operations.” And said, “Few publishers can afford to not be listed there.”

Computerworld went on to say:
One competitor to BookSurge claims that the print-on-demand business' prices are already higher than those of competitors. ... This carrot and stick approach could allow Amazon to create a captive audience, allowing it to raise prices further for its print-on-demand services. That in turn could lead to higher prices for the books that consumers purchase at and elsewhere.

According to Publishers Weekly,
BookSurge has told [publishers] that unless their titles are printed by BookSurge, the buy buttons on Amazon for their titles will be disabled.

An unnamed head of a POD publisher said in the Publishers Weekly article that:
although the deal with BookSurge will be more expensive, he has no choice but to make the move since most of his authors expect their titles to be for sale on Amazon.

Book Square said that “Amazon is amassing what is essentially a secret army.”

This is definitely something all authors should keep up with.


  1. I would think a little anti-trust action by a group of POD publishers is in line here. While there are many online booksellers, amazon is the one everyone thinks of and links to, making it the industry giant. I'm not a lawyer, but this sounds like they're trying to corner the POD market in the same way Microsoft gobbled up all its competitors.

    Barbar Sack

  2. Helen, as I was posting, I think I noticed I'd left off the last a in my name. LOL. Can you fix it?
    Barbara Sack

  3. Barbara, it does seem like a "use us or else" sort of deal. I think if enough bloggers, authors (especially big name authors), publishers, and writers' organizations would speak out, Amazon would have to change -- or the shopping crowd may shift to another source.


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