CreateSpace and Library of Congress in POD Deal | PW

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CreateSpace and Library of Congress in POD Deal

“Amazon’s CreateSpace division has struck a deal with the Library of Congress to make at least 50,000 public books available at Amazon.com. LOC also reached an agreement with Amazon Europe to make tens of thousands of books in the public domain available to customers at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon.fr via POD.”
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  1. Anonymous said:

    Assuming “public books” means books that the public as tax-payers has recently paid to create but that aren’t copyrighted because they were created by our federal government, what rationale justifies the Library of Congress making a special arrangement with one private company to publish these titles? Why shouldn’t all publishers and online distributors be put on an equally footing? It’s not that publishing is such a sophisticated operation that few understand how to do it.

    And why, please tell me, is the LOC doing this deal specifically with Amazon, which was forced to settle out-of-court in a lawsuit in Maine federal court charging that they were engaging in monopolistic practices. And why are they doing a deal with a company that’s clearly a vertical monopoly, unlike any other publisher? These books will be published by Amazon (as CreateSpace), as well as distributed and sold by them. That’s favoritism on three levels.

    And has the Library of Congress, either for these ‘public’ books or for public domain books, done any investigation to see if these books are actually in print from other publishers, making their favorable treatment of Amazon unnecessary from the public’s ‘need-to-access’ point of view.

    I mention the last, in part, because one of my classic titles was also “published” in a similar arrangement between Amazon and the British Library. My edition is newly typeset and modestly priced. The British Library was much more expensive and was, I am almost certain from the page count, a cheaply done replica. To make the matter even viler, Amazon was manipulating their search results in the UK to display this more expensive British Library edition while making my edition harder to fine. Never trust an Amazon search.

    This isn’t bitterness on my part. Most buyers aren’t stupid and in the end Amazon’s stupid manipulation of search results probably hurts them. My edition still outsells these cheap replicas, typically four to one.

    But why should readers have to work around Amazon’s scheming to get to low cost, quality editions, either of public texts or public domain texts? And why are the British Library and now the Library of Congress participating in such shenanigan? They seem, at best, to be a bit ‘ethically challenged.’

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