Sunday, 30 March 2008

Amazon Forces POD Publishers to use Booksurge-Update

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Most writer and publisher forums are widely discussing the current move by Amazon to make POD publishers use their print-wing Booksurge. Just to clarify, the listing on Amazon for an author's book will remain, but the 'buy' link button to purchase direct from Amazon has been disabled for all POD printed books. The option to purchase the book from one of Amazon's 'third party' sellers will still remain. On the Books&Tales forum Lin Robinson has posted an interesting suggestion for writers and writer's workshop/groups to counter the problem. I have listed the link here.

Amazon have not yet explained the reasons behind this extraordinary move, other than the usual 'effective business development for the betterment of all' line. One assumes the true reasons will come out directly, or indirectly, and indeed, if there is far more to this move than we are all aware of.

From following the current forum discussions, it seems that POD publishers have the basic issue of a retailer of Amazon's size and weight, dictating to them who they should use to print their books. On a more practical level, Booksurge unit costs are higher than Lightning Source, and the feeling is also that the POD publishers have issues with the quality of print from Booksurge.

On a more personal note, it still seems unclear if the current Amazon situation will affect web listings for Amazon sites outside of the United States. We can only wait and see how this develops.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Amazon Forces POD Publishers to use Booksurge-Update

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Authors seem now to be reporting that may also have followed Amazon's lead regarding this issue.

With regard to Amazon Pod titles, the 'buy' button directs buyers to third-party sellers outside of Amazon.

Amazon Forces POD Publishers to use Booksurge-Update

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Following on from the previous post on Amazon's moves against POD publishers, here is some more indept information and analysis on the current situation, particularly from Angela Hoy of Writersweekly.

Amazon Forces POD Publishers to use Booksurge

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This all seems to happened over the past 24 hours and several POD sites and forums are just starting to voice their reactions.

It seems that Amazon have taken the bold business step of informing POD publishers as well as traditional publishers who use print-on-demand digital print technology that they will have to use Amazon's own printers, Booksurge if they want to be listed on the Amazon retail book site.

Understandably, this has huge implications for POD publishers. What I think is very significant is the fact that Amazon have also chosen to issue this dictat to traditional publishers using the POD print technology as well. One wonders how the POD publishers will take this news. My understanding is that it will include titles already listed on Amazon, and not just new titles. The initial feedback from the POD publishers is that they feel they may not have much choice and they are being unfairly squeezed, considering the volume of sales they have driven in to the Amazon site.

We may learn more about all this when we see how the bigger POD guys react, like AuthorHouse, IUniverse et all. It will also be interesting to see how Lightening Source, one of the largest POD printers react to this news.

It seems there are interesting days ahead!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

POD Subsidy Survey - Lynn Osterkamp (thepopulistpublisher)

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Currently Lynn Osterkamp is conducting a survey for authors who have used pod subsidy publishers and would like their feed back.

You can take part in this survey at the following link;

Here are my generally posted comments about Lynn's survey.

I'm a little bemused as well about some of the negative criticism. I welcome any survey or analysis on subsidy publishing. I find any heated discussion on this topic seems to throw up as much about the attitude of traditionally published authors as it does about the subsidy published ones! I think authors who have been published through both channels will, perhaps, return a fairer and more balanced view of the subsidy publishing experience.

As different authors will have had varying experiences with subsidy publishers, all will answer the survey questions in a highly subjective manner. I think every author is on their own journey, and often, that journey is pre-determined by their starting point they choose in an effort to be published. I've been researching POD subsidy publishers for a while and I've found that writers (because all authors are first writers) fall into three broad groups.

Group 1 - Those who write for pleasure and have limited or little understanding of the publishing world. They set out on their writing journey and often, many of them will board the first bus that arrives. They board the Big Bright Subsidy Bus, because it seems to be the first bus to arrive, even though they have not quite worked out where it is they are going.

Group 2 - Those who don't see themselves as writers and pursue entirely different journeys. Somewhere along the way, something wonderful/extraordinary/tragic/notable(read celebrity/politician etc) happens them, and they decide to write about their experience. With belief and support and champions close around them; most of these writers will ultimately board the Traditional Bus, that's if the driver thinks they really have a book in them and the masses will want to read it.

Group 3 - The most interesting group. They know/believe with a real purpose that they are writers. Doggedly, they will not let go of this, even if their belief is misplaced. They may study literature, the arts, join a writing workshop, but along their journey they will hone their skills. Some may find themselves working behind the scenes in media(print/tv/promotional), all the time they are becoming more familiar and accustomed to the publishing world. Some of these writers because of their 'knowledge' will publish traditionally, and then, perhaps grow frustrated with the industry, eventually moving to subsidy or self-publishing. A small few will subsidy or self-publish directly, and then get the opportunity to move to traditional publishing.

I do believe that many of the above groups will merge over the next 10 years with the advent of in-bookstore pod technology, the general traditional publishers embracing pod technology for 50% or more of the books they publish; the continued development of digital print and E-publishing; a continued reduction in pod digital costs per book, and ultimately a proper ethical publishing charter that all pod subsidy publishers will have to sign to operate as a business.

Lynn, I welcome and wish you the very best with your survey.

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