Monday, April 21, 2008

Latest News on the Amazon/BookSurge Debacle

Best I can tell, the fire seems to be dwindling over at Amazon/BookSurge. Amazon's not stoking it since everyone got all up at arms about them threatening to turn off those "buy" buttons. And the general reading public hasn't even gotten wind of it yet. When it does, I think they'll stand by their authors and boycott Amazon.

Has anyone seen any articles on this topic in the mass media? I'm not a big news buff, so I haven't seen much. My husband, however, reads two news magazines and hasn't mentioned seeing anything published in either of them. I'm surprised that some of the business journals haven't seen the smoke and run to check out what's burning. The New York Times ran a story initially confirming the the fact that Amazon had, indeed, taken this new approach to business, but since then has there been much press? Do readers know that authors and publishers are being given the squeeze by Amazon? Has anyone begun the sharing of information that will lead to public outcry? A good boycott by authors might be just the thing Amazon needs right now...that and the PODs to make good on BookSurge's offer to stock a few printed copies of all their authors' books. I'd like to see them try that!

According to some letters that Angela Hoy has published on her website (, turns out BookSurge hasn't been on the up and up with its authors all along. In some cases, their books aren't being listed on Amazon in Canada and in Europe, even thought BookSurge promised the books would be. Add this to the crooked covers and other mistakes...

A friend of mine who offers POD publishing services through her company and uses BookSurge to provide that service showed up at my house this weekend with a copy of her own self-published book. She had to ask BookSurge to fix a fair number of pages that had a boxed "x" in place of another letter. What letter? It didn't seem to matter. Every once in a while, that boxed "x" just showed up in place of another letter. She had to read the whole book to find all the errors. She said she knew they'd had quality issues in the past but figured by now they would have gotten them handled. I guess she figured wrong.

My agent told me to print with BookSurge. I disagree both ethically and practically. I'll probably use Lightning Source, either directly or through the small POD in my town, which actually uses Lightning Source's printing services. And that POD's "buy" buttons are still all "on." And they told me their authors are doing a great job right now selling on Amazon. Go figure.

I wonder: Do you have to be a big POD to get your "buy" buttons turned off by Amazon? That doesn't seem quite fair.

In any case, here's the latest news -- straight from and Angela Hoy:

Thursday, April 17, 2008: Xlibris appears to still be hemming and hawing. They finally responded to Angela's email of March 25th, saying, "We apologize that we are unable to comment on the subject below as we are still standing by for the official communication from the higher management and our partners. As of this writing, it is still business as usual with" Is it just us or are all of the big POD publishers' statements starting to sound like broken records?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - The National Writers Union is also publicly condemning Amazon's actions. "The National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 strongly opposes Amazon’s new restriction on the print-on demand market and calls upon Amazon to immediately withdraw this monopolistic intrusion, or face our call for investigations by the Justice Department and Congress."

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