Thursday, 3 April 2008


Amazon/Booksurge - Xlibris Update


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POD publisher Xlibris look to be one of the 'big hitters' who are communicating to their authors that they are not willing to sign up to the current Amazon/Booksurge agreement. In light of Xlibris being one of the bigger POD publishers - it may now encourage those publishers undecided to hold station and stand up to Amazon.

Over the past week, there has been a general 'wait and see what the rest do' approach to the situation. So far, IUniverse and AuthorHouse are the only two who have announced an official agreement with Amazon, with Lulu seemingly also in agreement.
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4 comments:

  1. We need to cool down and think strategically about this. Not everyone has the stubbornness to hold out against the pressure Amazon can exert. We can't depend on some government agency intervening this time. Those agencies are staffed by politically inclined lawyers. Ethics doesn't move them. It'll take time, probably years of pressure, before what happened to Microsoft happens to Amazon.

    We must take charge of this debate. We must dictate the terms. Amazon wants to enrich themselves by screwing everyone else. We all know that. But we also know that they can't look bad to their customers. That's their fatal weaknesses.

    We need to develop a statement that legally binds Amazon to behave in ways that they don't want to do and insist that they agree or we don't sign. They claim to want to ship to customers faster. This agreement would bind them to shipping quickly by ordering from Lightning, paying an expedite fee if necessary, to ship quickly when BookSurge can't meet the demand.

    Even more important, we need to keep in mind something that Amazon can easily do if they control the entire production and sale of our books. They can print and sell 1000 books, but pay us for 750. Amazon must provide POD publishers will full accounting of each and every sale: order date, shipping date, city and zip code. Will they want to do that? Of course not. And if they do that for us, how can they deny other publishers the same data.

    Attempt to hang in there individually, and enough of us will fall in line for Amazon to claim a victory. Make this painful enough by setting conditions we can rally around that don't fit with Amazon's plans to maximize their profit, and they will drop this like a hot potato.

    Think of this like the American Revolution. Would the Revolution have succeeded if there'd been no Declaration of Independence to rally around? Probably not. Amazon is behaving like King George III. We need the equivalent of a Declaration of Independence, something that lays down the conditions under which we will do business with them.

    Greed is their motivation. We need to target that greed by insisting that they provide quality service to their and our customers and insisting that they display proper accountability in their dealings with us.

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  2. What bothers me is Booksurge has such a bad reputation. They were sued by one of their authors for poor print quality! Why should we authors be forced to use this service without at least having input?

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  3. As authors, we shouldn't have to put up with poor print quality, lack of supply resources etc. And our publishers certainly shouldn't have to either. that is why they need to stop holding their cards so close to their chests and come up with a proper POD Publishers Charter, something long overdue in the industry. Without it, Amazon will continue to up the ante and be an industry dictator.

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  4. I was initially enthused about using Booksurge for POD but I decided to contact several artists who I knew to have their work published by Amazon/Booksurge. EVERY ONE OF THEM was terribly disappointed to HORRIFied at how bad the quality control was. EACH ONE said that they would never again use Booksurge for POD.

    That's pretty bad.

    I understand that Amazon is only interested in profit, but you would think that the heads of the company might be slightly interested in putting out a quality product.

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