Monday, 31 March 2008

Amazon flexes its muscles

Amazon has created a furor in the publishing world by requiring Print On Demand publishers to use Amazon's BookSurge POD technology, according to a story in Publishers Weekly. Amazon notified publishers who print books on demand that they will have to use its on-demand printing facilities if they want their books directly sold on Amazon's Web site. If the publishers use a different POD company Amazon will disable the "buy" button on the Amazon website. A links list of other stories about Amazon's move shows titles like "Amazon pulls a Microsoft", "Amazon puts the screws on", and "Amazon tightens noose."
According to the Wall Street Journal, the move signals that Amazon is intent on using its position as the premier online bookseller to strengthen its presence in other phases of bookselling and manufacturing. Print On Demand is a rapidly growing printing technology that allows publishers to quickly produce copies of books. Instead of printing a large quantity months before a title goes on sale, publishers can print copies in response to requests from retailers or other customers. The technique is being used by more than half of the country's university presses and most of the major consumer publishers in the U.S. for some titles.
Someone (the website says "I'm an independently published author worried about the fate of our industry") has started an online petition to combat Amazon's actions here.

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