* Posts by Angela Hoy

1 post • joined 31 Mar 2008

Amazon smacks little people with BookSurge

Angela Hoy


Monday, March 31, 2008, 5:10 PM: Angela Hoy tried to reach Bob Young at Lulu this morning. His secretary said he would call at 4:00 PM. She called Angela after 4:00, and said he wasn't available, but agreed to put her through to Gale Jordan, Lulu's Director of Public Relations.

Gale Jordan said she would try to have the Vice President contact her. She called back a few minutes later to say he was not available (that he was on a plane). She then basically said they wouldn't be able to give us a statement before Angela's deadline. She asked if anyone could talk to her tomorrow morning. Jordan said no, that they were all out of town at a remote location. Angela asked if they really couldn't talk to her or if Lulu just didn't want to comment. Jordan said, "A little of both. We're just not going to comment."

Angela left a message on John Feldcamp's (Xlibris) voicemail today. He has not returned her call.

Angela left a message on Kevin Weiss's (AuthorHouse/iUniverse) assistant's voicemail today. He has not yet returned her call.

An AuthorHouse author contacted Angela today and said he was told by his AuthorHouse representative that AuthorHouse was in "intensive negotiations with Amazon." I can't, of course, confirm that is true, but the silence from these big three POD publishers speaks volumes.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 4:10 PM - Amazon.com has released an official statement about their actions HERE.

It basically just rehashes what you already know, but puts a pretty spin on things from their end.

They rationalize they can ship books faster. Our printer, Lightning Source, ships books to Amazon's customers directly, even using an Amazon.com return address sticker. They rationalize they can ship items together to save money, and that doing this saves transportation costs and fuel. What they don't tell you is that forcing a publisher to pay Amazon to print their book, plus setup fees for new books, plus 48% of each sale could and probably will mean higher list prices on books and, thus, less money in the customers' pockets, less money in the publishers' and authors' pockets...but more money in Amazon's pocket.

Furthermore, Amazon has several distribution centers in the U.S. and abroad. Are they currently printing Print on Demand books in each of those centers? I don't think so. So, they're "save money/time by packaging POD books with other products" rationale appears to have a few glaring holes in it.

If Amazon can't currently print POD books at all its distribution warehouses, why are they telling POD publishers to sign that contract NOW?

Notice they left out the setup fees ($50 for new titles), the printing costs, and the 48% they want from each sale. In fact, there's no mention of fees at all in the statement. They also don't mention that the average publishing package for authors at Booksurge is over $1,000.

Also, regarding the Advantage Program, they left out the fact that publishers/authors have to pay $29.95 per year, PLUS shipping costs to get the books to Amazon, PLUS 55% of each sale to Amazon. They don't seem too concerned with shipping and fuel expenses for this part of the statement, probably because the publisher has to pay for those.

Finally, they, of course, don't mention the past quality control problems experienced by Booksurge. If a customer gets a book with missing or upside down pages, who's going to get the blame? Not Amazon, that's for sure. The publisher will get the backlash for that.

What do you think about Amazon's official statement, readers?


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