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Amazon Puts the Muscle on POD Printers

Andy Heidel fills us in on what’s been happening in Amazon.com‘s efforts to make its print-on-demand solution, Booksurge, the market leader by making it that much harder for anybody else to sell their books…

“News of Booksurge’s potential POD monopoly has crossed the pond with a disturbing message from an Amazon spokesman in yesterday’s Inquirer:

John Clifford initially denied that this was happening and then admitted that books not converted to BookSurge would have the “buy” button turned off on Amazon.com. He added that Amazon wanted to have no books from other POD publishers available on Amazon.com.’

“Wait, what? Patty Smith, Director of Corporate Communications at Amazon.com, didn’t mention that in her official statement to GalleyCat: ‘We think Amazon’s Print-on-Demand is a great option for both publishers and customers as it allows us to offer more titles and keep those titles perpetually in stock.’ Evidently the benefit is that they can print the titles in their fulfillment centers and marry the on-demand book with any other purchase and send out the same day in a single box. Smith goes on to say that ‘any publisher or author can always use the Amazon Advantage’ which is their consignment program.”

(UPDATE: Amazon has made an official statement on the new policy.)

“So, what’s so terrible about their consignment program?

Angela Hoy, co-owner of booklocker.com and the person who broke this story on her site, writersweekly.com, told GalleyCat, ‘Amazon Advantage costs $29.95 per year and they then demand 55% of each sale. Furthermore, the publisher has to pay to ship the books to Amazon (our books are currently drop-shipped directly to Amazon customers by our printer). If we were to participate in the Amazon Advantage program, our prices would need to be raised significantly to accommodate all of these new fees.” Angela went on to say that “we have been told by more than one source that April 1st is the deadline Amazon has given to some publishers to sign the contract, or else.’”

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