Friday, March 28, 2008

An Amazon Monopoly?

This is certainly interesting:

Writen by Angela Hoy at Writer's Weekly

Some Print on Demand (POD) publishers are privately screaming "Monopoly!" while others are seething with rage over startling phone conversations they're having with Amazon/BookSurge representatives. Why isn't anybody talking about it openly? Because they're afraid - very, very afraid. purchased BookSurge, a small POD publisher/printer back in 2005. Amazon also lists and sells titles for the largest POD printer, Lightning Source, which is owned by Ingram (the large book distributor). According to their website, Lightning Source serves more than 4,300 publisher clients and has more than 400,000 titles in their system.

You'd think Amazon's purchase of BookSurge might have made things a bit uncomfortable between the two companies. However, they continued to work together, getting books on demand to's loyal customers. Things appeared to be cruising along just fine, but perhaps not anymore.

To read the full article, click here

What exactly does this mean for the small publisher who uses Print-on-demand? Or the large publishers for that matter? Is this the death of Lightning Source and other competing Print-on-demand printers? Is Amazon becoming the monopoly it appears to be? Or is this a lot of panic over nothing?

I'll be keeping a close watch on this situation. So far, Laura' Fogg's book is still available for sale on Amazon. If anything changes, I'll let you know.

Beyond the threat of lost revenue for me and other publishers, this is a potential threat to free internet commerce and to free speech. How many writers will be silenced by Amazon's need to control the market? I believe keeping the internet free and information flowing is key to maintaining the health of our democracy. Any attempt to silence dissent, or corral businesses into a single resource for their product, is dangerous.

It's not the time to panic yet. Now is the time to be aware and see what happens. Perhaps Amazon will retract its position and avoid monopolizing book sales on the internet. Or if not, then it may be time for all of us to shop at Powells.

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