Friday, March 28th, 2008

Amazon deletes competition

Having bought bought second-tier Print-on-Demand (POD) publisher BookSurge, Amazon is now working to shut down its competition. According to Publishers Weekly:

“According to talks with several pod houses, BookSurge has told them that unless their titles are printed by BookSurge, the buy buttons on Amazon for their titles will be disabled.”

More at BookFinder Journal. The story broke on WritersWeekly.

Amazon’s move should concern all publishers, and indeed readers. Amazon has always had a lot of leverage, but they haven’t used it. That’s clearly changing. The Kindle is already a monopoly product. Will they remove books published on the Sony Reader too?

Coincidentally, I’ve had POD on the brain; see this post for more on POD and libraries. I guess Amazon may solve libraries’ problem with having too many POD publishers to follow.

UPDATE: Good, longer discussions and evidence of meme-spread can be found at, TeleRead, The Wall Street Journal, Wired Epicenter Blog, Techcrunch, Eoin Purcell. I think it’s significant that the story has crossed the gap from the POD and general book trade to personal LJ pages and niche outlets like Christian Writers Marketplace and The Wild Hunt (“Will Amazon Hurt Small Pagan Publishers?”). For a continuous stream, check out this Google Blog Search for “Booksurge.” My survey found 90% of the posts had hostile titles with the remaining 10% being hostile only in their content.

For book-industry bloggers, and particularly the POD people, this has become something of an I-am-Spartacus moment. (Of course, those guys all died.) The manager of Dashbooks, a POD publisher that makes most of its money off Amazon, writes of the “liquid courage” (margaritas) that led to their post on the topic. Certainly I hesitated a moment before posting. Let’s see what our Amazon-funded competitor has to say about Amazon’s move…

Labels: Amazon, booksurge, kindle, monopoly


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