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Amazon forces POD's to use Booksurge


Michael H

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This is an interesting development for those who have their books out as POD products with folks like iUniverse (now owned by Author House) and Author House.

I've provided two links for interested parties.

Please note, I do not wish to begin a discussion of the merits or demerits of POD companies here.

Publisher's Weekly

Writer's Weekly

 

Michael Halfhill

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Amazon's BookSurge mandate extends to traditional publishers as well as to online pod houses.

I want to be sure I understand this correctly Michael. On the surface it looks like Amazon won't sell any books unless the books are published by BookSurge. Surely that can't be right, can it?

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I want to be sure I understand this correctly Michael. On the surface it looks like Amazon won't sell any books unless the books are published by BookSurge. Surely that can't be right, can it?

 

As I understand it, Amazon/Booksurge is telling POD outfits that unless they use Booksurge to print their books they won't be listed on the Amz online catalog. Book Surge not only offers the services other POD companies do, they print their own product rather than farming the print job out to Lighting Source, et al.

Of course POD customers want their books listed on online catalogs. As you know this feature is prominently displayed on POD websites. Author House alone has a huge customer base that would be excluded if AH refused to abandon Lightning Source in favor of Amz/BS. If they refuse these companies would be reduced to selling from their own website stores. They do this already but I'd bet those sales account for a small % of the total intake. When they first began some of these companies printed their own product but stopped that to cut costs. Now they are literally stuck in the ink.

Amz is clearly playing hardball. Book Surge is determined to take the loin's share of the POD and E-book market. I saw the first warnings when AMZ decided not to sell e-books unless they were formatted to be read on their new gismo. Now the other shoe has dropped.

Gone are the days when Jeff Bezos and his wife traveled to each distribution facility at Christmas time to help the staff get the books packed and shipped.

I can't see any leverage here for the competition. BS has them by the short hairs because BS has Amz and AMZ has BS.

 

Michael

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As I understand it, Amazon/Booksurge is telling POD outfits that unless they use Booksurge to print their books they won't be listed on the Amz online catalog. Book Surge not only offers the services other POD companies do, they print their own product rather than farming the print job out to Lighting Source, et al.

Oh, that's different. It's not all the books that Amazon sells. It's just print on demand (POD) books. Right?

 

If so then that really bites. But what can you do about it realistically?

 

People can still find your content via Amazon which is a heck of a lot easier then them trying to find it on your website.

 

This is part of what I was trying to explain to you the other day about the inherent flaws of attempting to sell solely via your website.

 

You need the power of a site like Amazon for customers to find your content.

 

Unfortunately one of the sacrifices it appears you're going to have to make now is letting an Amazon-designated company sell your POD content.

 

Based on my experience though POD does not make up a significant portion of the market. Far more people are buying pre-printed books, e-books, and audiobooks. I'd only buy in POD if it were my only option. And even then I'd think twice about how much I really wanted that content.

 

In addition to it being a better deal for Amazon and Booksurge, it's probably easier for Amazon to only deal with one publisher/printer for POD content.

 

I saw the first warnings when AMZ decided not to sell e-books unless they were formatted to be read on their new gismo. Now the other shoe has dropped.

That's what I was telling you the other day about the Kindle. Amazon only sells Kindle content that's formatted for the Kindle. Even subscriptions to major magazines and newspapers that typically get delivered via Kindle's WiFi have to be submitted in Kindle format.

 

You're pretty much fighting a losing battle if you want to sell your books in PDF format. It's gotten to the point where you only read PDF files using Acrobat or the free Acrobat Reader and that can be a PITA.

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Oh, that's different. It's not all the books that Amazon sells. It's just print on demand (POD) books. Right?

 

If so then that really bites. But what can you do about it realistically?

 

People can still find your content via Amazon which is a heck of a lot easier then them trying to find it on your website.

 

This is part of what I was trying to explain to you the other day about the inherent flaws of attempting to sell solely via your website.

 

You need the power of a site like Amazon for customers to find your content.

 

Unfortunately one of the sacrifices it appears you're going to have to make now is letting an Amazon-designated company sell your POD content.

 

Based on my experience though POD does not make up a significant portion of the market. Far more people are buying pre-printed books, e-books, and audiobooks. I'd only buy in POD if it were my only option. And even then I'd think twice about how much I really wanted that content.

 

In addition to it being a better deal for Amazon and Booksurge, it's probably easier for Amazon to only deal with one publisher/printer for POD content.

 

 

That's what I was telling you the other day about the Kindle. Amazon only sells Kindle content that's formatted for the Kindle. Even subscriptions to major magazines and newspapers that typically get delivered via Kindle's WiFi have to be submitted in Kindle format.

 

You're pretty much fighting a losing battle if you want to sell your books in PDF format. It's gotten to the point where you only read PDF files using Acrobat or the free Acrobat Reader and that can be a PITA.

 

Peter (my partner) worked 5 years as an AMZ CS rep. He said that all all Ingeram shipments arrived at the distribution centers in Lighting Source boxes. That jogged my memory since I had heard that Lightning Source is owned by Ingram, Add to that Baker & Taylor are the sole distributors for BS. I'm wondering if Ingram drove too hard a bargain with BS and this is payback? Of course that's just speculation.

 

Once upon a time, all three of my books were offered as E-books on the Amz catalog. Now that option has been removed. I tried to get them formatted (at my expense) with Mobiread which Amz once supported but that didn't work out. People who want my books as e-books can download them from the Author House and iUniverse sites.

As for selling my books as e-book format, I'm not wedded to doing that. It would be nice but...

 

You said this and I was wondering what you meant: "And even then I'd think twice about how much I really wanted that content."

 

Michael

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As for selling my books as e-book format, I'm not wedded to doing that. It would be nice but...

What? E-Book format is all the rage for now and for the foreseeable future. It is not hard to get your books formatted to support the various Kindle formats. There are a ton of links, including on Wikipedia about this issue. Amazon is the powerhouse to content with in the e-book world. To ignore them is to do so at your own peril.

 

You said this and I was wondering what you meant: "And even then I'd think twice about how much I really wanted that content."

I prefer my books in e-book or audiobook formats. The single exception is WW2 non-fiction. Then I want hardcover books because they get added to my increasingly bloated library. As more time goes by I'll probably start to find these books in e-book format because when I need to go back and searching for relevant passages to help clear up present confusion this is so much easier. Ill still buy the same content in hardcover. There's a certain ego factor involved in having all those book in my library room. Old-fashioned and modern at the same time. Blah who cares? Me and that's all that matters.

 

/me is still groggy. All mistakes are my own.

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