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Old Mar 31 2008, 01:20 AM   #1
Cheryl
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Default Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

There's an uproar going on in the POD (print on demand) publishing industry because Amazon is instituting a new policy forcing people to use their POD (BookSurge) or not be able to be sold directly through Amazon. They can still be sold through third party distributors, but then they're not eligible for free shipping, etc.

Many more details are here. It's a long article, and sometimes rambling, but full of details. The issue and implications are much more complex than my summary conveys.

If you think this is a sucky move on Amazon's part, there's a petition you can sign here. I don't know if it'll do any good, but it can't hurt. (Oh, and when it asks if you want to donate, you can say no; you don't have to give money to sign the petition.)
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Old Mar 31 2008, 01:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

Okay people, quick history lesson. Mind you, I've had to boil down an awful lot of info and hopefully I've got it all right.

Prior to the 1980s in the US there were tons of different book distributors. This made book distribution messy and unreliable. They all basically merged into one, Ingram. This was a good thing. Ingram is how books get anywhere you see them in a store.

Small publishers can send their documents to Ingram and have them printed and distributed. Ingram owns and uses Lightning Source POD technology.

POD technology allows a publisher to "Print On Demand." Basically, they have the file of the book in their system and when they have an order for it it gets printed. This is how Lulu, where we have 40 Years of Pern, works.

Amazon bought BookSurge, another POD technology/publisher/printer in 2005. Publishers using POD technology continued as they had been, using Lightning Source and the Ingram distribution system AND the online force that is Amazon.

Now Amazon has decided they want anyone working with them to use their BookSurge technology. If they don't they'll pull the "Buy Now" button off the page and it will no longer be available through Amazon.

This could be the death of many small publishers using POD tech. If they want to have their books on Amazon and in book stores they will have to have each book in both BookSurge and Lightning Source formats when they once only needed one. They're going to have to convert all of their old books into BookSurge format. For some publishers it will mean choosing between Amazon and Bookstores.

POD as a technology has so many possibilities. There are hopes that someday every publisher's backstock may be available. But, if a publisher has to format every book for two different technologies I don't think the costs are going to make it worth it for them. Which is a sad, sad thing.

I'm boycotting Amazon until further notice.
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Old Mar 31 2008, 03:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

That kind of sucks *please excuse the Aussie lingo*, because my mum "self-published" 2 books - one of which is out of print but the other is still available. What happens if she decided to reload both books onto something like Lulu et al and simply couldn't do it because one company had the monopoly on it?

Same goes for Hans' book too!
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Old Mar 31 2008, 03:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

What a stupid move! I'm confident that, if they persist, in the end they will only hurt temselves but for now it's a helluva stupid and sucking move.

I think amazon is strongest on the US market. It's not owned by Bertelsmann, right? If not that's a party who could profit by this expanding bol.com (books on line) into the US...

Jube, Lulu is not in danger, it's just that your books won't be showing up on Amazon (which I chose not to do anyway, for different reasons) and that amazon has the power to manipulate your sales if you chose to publish online elsewhere. Independent publishing (relative low in number of copies) will always be there, no matter what. I guess it's the middle fish and the big fish that might be affected.

EDIT: I tried signing the petition but without filling out an email adddress (it's not compulsory). The system told me it couldn't register my protest as somebody else had already used this email address...

I strongly advise against giving your email address to iPetitions!

Can't help thinking is this real or a hoax?
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Old Mar 31 2008, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

I've never been a fan of Amazon and none of this encourages me to become one. I've browsed there once or twice but just didn't like the 'feel' of it for some reason.
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Old Mar 31 2008, 02:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

What I remembered over on the other place is that some of my textbooks are POD. A lot of students won't look beyond Amazon.
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Old Apr 1 2008, 11:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

Thank you to Pam for wading thru all the info and giving us the basics in a logical format.
I'm sort of in between with Amazon. I like the fact that they have their customer service department here in the US (so many companies are moving them overseas and I can't understand the people on the phone....so frustrating!) they have a customer service department here in the Tri-Cities. I have purchased several used books with no problems at all. The main problem I've had with them is buying a book in advance and expecting it to be a 1st edition and getting a 2nd. Never bought a book since Freedoms Landing (or Challenge, can't remember which) from them till Deluge. Thought I'd give them another try and save a bit of money. Got the book, it's a 1st edition, thankfully, but the dust jacket is creased in a couple of spots so I'll be looking for a replacement for that too! Grrrrr, so I'm not buying new books from them anymore. I'll continue to buy used since those are coming from other sources.
I do hope that this POD gets situated so that it's good for everyone who uses it.
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Old Apr 1 2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

I rarely if at all use Amazon...like Sandi, I just don't care for the feel of the place.

After reading Hans statement I don't think that I will sign the petition either, as I hate giving my email addy to anyone that hasn't proven its self to be safe. I will wait...but if enough of us boycott them perhaps that will be enough of a drop to cause them to reconsider this move.

In my opinion many of these kinds of forced agressions in business can go very wrong if the buying public take it badly...in this case lets hope they do and that it does. I also hope that the little guy isn't the one that has to pay the price for all of this *Greed* on Amazons part.

Thank you Cheryl!!!! For bringing this whole mess to our attention.
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Old Jun 22 2008, 10:19 PM   #9
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Question Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

I have gone over the the site and look over stuff. But you are right they do have some nice things but I sometime do not care for the way they do business.

By the way that sound like someting about textbook on demand in a reable format, like braille or is this the wrong thread to place it?

Also by the way do you know if a person can say read at libary or via a friend on a web site? Just asking.
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Old Jun 22 2008, 11:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by GinnyStar View Post
I have gone over the the site and look over stuff. But you are right they do have some nice things but I sometime do not care for the way they do business.

By the way that sound like someting about textbook on demand in a reable format, like braille or is this the wrong thread to place it?

Also by the way do you know if a person can say read at libary or via a friend on a web site? Just asking.
If I understand you correctly (and I'm not entirely sure I do)

Printing books in braille would require a completely different set-up from POD. They require different machinery. I suppose a braille POD might be possible, but as far as I know one does not yet exist.

As for whether POD books are available at a library or on someone's computer, that would depend on whether the individual library has that book, just like any book. As for availability on a computer, it would have to have been made available as an e-book.
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Old Jun 22 2008, 11:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

I didn't update this, because the topic was old, but a compromise was come to. POD publishers can keep their books in Amazon's listing by providing 5 copies for the Amazon warehouse. It will still be a bit of a hardship for some of the POD publishers, but I think it's fair. Now, titles that it used to take weeks to get (because the publisher had to print a copy) will be available as soon as other books.
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Old Jun 23 2008, 03:41 AM   #12
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Default Re: Amazon attempting a monopoly in Print On Demand publishing

Thanks for that update, Pam

Must admit I hadn't followed the news about this.
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