Monday, 13 October 2008


Amazon Finally Moves on UK Print on Demand Market


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It looks like Amazon has finally made their move on the UK market for books published by digital print-on-demand technology. This very much follows what Amazon has done in the United States in conjunction with their own printer Booksurge. At the moment, there is already a court action in process by US POD publisher Booklocker against Amazon's moves.

Amazon plans to operate their POD book fulfillment from their plant in Marston Gate close to Milton Keynes. Interestingly, Milton Keynes is also the base of Lightning Source one of the world's largest printers of print-on-demand titles.

It is believed that HarperCollins, Faber & Faber and Cambridge University Press are already some of the publishers to have signed up to Amazon's plans.

The Bookseller news article which features Amazon's announcement can be found at the following link.

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/68379-amazon-uk-plans-pod-service.html

Also, here is the Amazon press release.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/press/pr/20080710

While large publishing houses in the uk may seem eager and willing, it will be interesting to see how the uk owned and based POD publishers react to this news.
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5 comments:

  1. So far Mick, we are about the only ones to have blogged about this at all, from what I can see. I find it hard to understand why, given Amazon's history and stance on POD in the United States. This is not the time to be complacent, as the future of publishing is at stake.

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  2. There are one or two sites I've seen it commented on, but yes, you guessed it they are USA based, not UK sites.

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  3. Large UK commercial publishers like Allen & Unwin, Harper Collins and Cambridge University Press have been a little too quick and eager to sign up to to Amazon's plans. Outside of Lulu and AuthorHouse uk, it will be interesting to see what the reaction of the larger uk based POD publishers will be.

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  4. Having heard back from my own publisher, he assures me that this is all a storm in a teacup anyway, and I am inclined to agree. The laws in this country, not to mention the rest of Europe, would just not allow them to do this. I was suspicious when I thought it was rather suspicious that Cambridge University Press had 'signed up', as they are by far Lightning Source' biggest UK client and the fact that this to be based at Amazon's Milton Keynes centre, (the same place where LSI are based) makes one wonder whether this is Amazon's attempt (not very well) to say what we have known all along - that most POD books (some like mine are obtained from wholesalers) sold through their website are printed ans shipped by Lightning Source in Amazon packaging. I don't think we have too much cause for concern then quite yet.

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  5. June, I did notice this anomally in the Amazon press release about the location of 'their fulfillment' facility and its proximity to LSI's Milton Keynes plant. Unless, of course, if Amazon have brought in their own digital print machines to their facilities. Highly unlikely. They took over Booksurge to do this in the USA, and more likely, as you say, they have followed a similar business strategy and the worst kept secret on the uk POD print supply market is that the vast majority of Amazon's POD book orders through their site are printed, packaged and shipped by LSI.

    Incidently, this would also explain the Ingram Group's (owners of LSI) muted and watery response to the situation earlier this year in the USA when Amazon announced their POD print deal with Booksurge for their POD orders and their strong armed tactics with US POD publishers.

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