Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon Bully?

It’s been a wild and crazy few days, err, more like a week. No one told me a puppy got sick just like kids. It’s ironic when a child is sick with the bucket handy and her dog is in the chair with her, looking just as miserable.

Meanwhile in the publishing front, the world has been a buzzing with the news Amazon is changing its policies that have been the same for as long as I’ve been in this biz going on 8 years now. I’m a “if it works don’t change it” kind of person and I really don’t see the intelligence in this decision of theirs.

It seems they are trying to get a little demanding and require any books printed by POD technology (print on demand) and sold on their site with a direct buy button, must be printed using their printer, Book Surge they purchased in 2005. Hmmm, seems a little off to me. They say this will enable them to ship books faster because they will be able to print them within a couple hours, package them with anything else the customer may have ordered and all is good.

I don’t buy it.

I have purchased things from Amazon, mostly Christmas gifts when I can’t find them anywhere else. The thing that strikes me as funny is this: I purchased a handful of things, thinking it was from Amazon because that’s where I bought it from, that’s who I paid, that’s who confirmed my order. All but two of the items were packaged and shipped from separate parts of the states with different store names on the letter inside the Amazon box. So I’m not sure I’m buying that statement in their release that if a customer buys a book and a toaster they can package them together and the customer gets exactly what they want and that is why Amazon wants to do this.

My other concern is quality. Quality is very important to me as it seems to be for Lightning Source - my current printer that also is owned by Ingram, one of the largest distributors to bookstores. The fact that BookSurge has many complaints about their lack of quality does not make me feel very confident about them keeping the standards I'm used to. And like I saw stated somewhere else, if a customer orders a title from Amazon and that title arrives to the reader with a missing page or something else wrong, it won’t be Amazon who looks bad, it will be the publisher because Amazon or BookSurge will not have their name on the product. The publisher who paid them for the service does. And this isn’t even about the double work this would cause to people who are already overworked and how about that double charge to have one book with two printers?

It doesn’t help that the very thought of being forced to have two printers if I want things to stay the same as they are with Amazon stirs my Irish blood into thinking how dare you tell me where I can or can not print my books and have them listed as they have been with Amazon since I published them (speaking of my personal titles). Oh, I know, Amazon is crying out “you don’t have to do this, you can sell as a 3rd party if I don’t print with Book Surge, and Star books will still be available on Amazon, just not with the shipping specials or any of that good stuff. Don’t get me started on that 3rd party thing. It ain’t worth it.

I’m inclined to tell them where to go, truly. Amazon has never been my most favorite place for my books, but some authors with Star Publish have had much better relations. So I suppose we’ll see how it all goes.

Myself, I’m waiting for Borders to get their new site up. I’ll jump on their bandwagon real fast.

I’m also by far not the only one a little bothered by this:

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