GRR!!!!! I hate it when people get so FOCUSED upon the bottom line that they lose sight of the long term consequences of their actions!!!!
Angela Hoy is the publisher of the Writer’s Weekly which she uses to promote her POD publishing business, Booklocker.com. On Friday, Angela launched a firestorm when she reported that Amazon is putting the squeeze on POD publishers.
So here’s the deal… Amazon executives are doing their best “Tony Soprano” impression by threatening to remove the “buy” buttons from POD (print on demand) titles listed on the site that ARE NOT printed by Amazon’s own Book Surge POD. “Do this and nobody gets hurt,” is the implication. The problem is, someone is going to get hurt and my guess is it will be Amazon.
Amazon was the first hog to the internet book selling trough. In the early days, when you signed up as an Amazon affiliate, you could choose to be paid in “books” instead of dollars. I know that is how I still choose to be paid for my Amazon affiliate commissions. The thing is, authors are readers by nature. Angela confesses to spending over $1500 last year on Amazon. That may be a bit above “average” but maybe not. I just realized the figure I gave my CPA was only for the books I bought, not the ones I “bought” using my affiliate earnings!
So, authors are big book buyers… and Amazon was a pioneer in the whole internet affiliate marketing model. By removing the “buy” button for POD works on the site, Amazon is not only going to lose their author /customers. These authors may not be buying copies of their own book from the retail giant, but I’m sure they are buying other author’s works through the site. However, in addition to peeving off their biggest spending customers…. Amazon is also going to lose a portion of their affiliate sales network as well. My guess would be that those affiliates are probably part of the productive 20% of the old 80/20 rule which applies to affiliates and their sales in SPADES.
My mother used to refer to such actions as “cutting off your nose to spite your face”.
There’s a HUGE firestorm brewing over Angela’s revelation. So far over 60 blogs have weighed in to comment and I’m sure that Monday morning… more will join the cause. The very NATURE of Web 2.0 is for this type of story to go “viral”. (I hope Booklocker’s web hosting company is ready for this onslaught!)
POD authors who link to Amazon to sell their books will be changing those links and they probably won’t wait until the buy button is removed. Once they go to the time and effort to “switch” the links promoting their book from Amazon to Barnes and Noble… THEY WILL NOT take the time to switch them back to Amazon if Amazon backs down from this stand.
Now, Slashdot has picked up the story… suddenly this fight will extend BEYOND authors and into regular book readers who will be outraged at the “Big Bully” tactics being employed by Amazon. Nobody likes a bully… and until now, Amazon didn’t look like a bully.
Amazon loses all around. They lose the sales… they lose the links… they lose the relationship with thousands of authors… A.K.A. their customers!!!!
It’s obvious that the long term consequences of this action have yet to dawn on the executives at Amazon. Perhaps they thought no one would speak up. Looks like Amazon needs a lesson in Web 2.0. You know the old saying… “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”? I think this may be just such a case.
Here is a list of other bloggers (from Angela’s article page) taking up the fight. If you want to add your post to the “cause”… the post a comment to this post. If you’ve got your own blog, copy this list and post it on your blog as well. The more links to these posts… the more “traction” this cause will get.
- A New Amazon Mandate? Say it ain’t so, Jeff by Morris Rosenthal
- Amazon Forcing POD Publishers to Make a Hard Decision, Virtualbookworm
- Amazon Tightens Grip on Printing by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal
- Amazon Tightens Noose on Print-On-Demand Publishers; Insists They Use Company’s Own Service by Rafat Ali, The Washington Post
- Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly
- Amazon changes rules for print-on-demand publishers by Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld
- Amazon pulls a Microsoft by Robert L. Mitchell, Computerworld Blogs
- Amazon Puts the Squeeze on Publishers by Betsy Schiffman, Wired Blog Network
- Amazon Gets Demanding with Print-on-Demand Publishers, O’Reilly Radar
- Amazon.com puts the screws to small publishers, Valleywag
- Amazon’s POD monopoly, booktwo.org
- Is Amazon Getting Greedy? , open…
- Oh, REAL nice, Amazon.com, Beatlegirl’s Blog
- Market Report — In Play,MSN Money
- Amazon Muscles Print-On-Demand Services by Duncan Riley, TechCrunch
- Amazon & BookSurge, words count
- Urgent News for Authors, The Holistic Writer
- Monopoly – It’s Not A Game by Jean-Marie Hershey, Print CEO Blog
- Of oil lamps, Print on Demand, and e-book machines: Amazon’s Bezos as a would-be Rockefeller by David Rothman
- Deal Breaker? Amazon – BookSurge – POD – No Choice?, Workboxers
- Amazon.com’s POD land grab, BookFinder.com Journal
- Amazon Changes POD Tactics, Removes Velvet Gloves by Kassia Krozser, Booksquare
- Amazon The Monopoly, PersonaNonData
- Amazon Muscles Print-On-Demand Services, web2bite.com
- Use BookSurge or Die? by Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware
- Amazon/Golliath takes on the little guys by Helen Gallagher, Release Your Writing
- Amazon Bullies POD to Use Booksurge — or Else., Shadowhelm’s Journal
- Amazon Says It Will Only Sell Print-On-Demand Books That It Gets To Print, Techdirt
- Amazon deletes competition, LibraryThing
- What’s Amazon Up To Now? by Tawny Taylor
- Amazon Shaking the POD World Big Time, Juno Books
- A hearty “F$%k you!” to Amazon by Elf M. Sternberg
- A Call to Bloggers: Stop Supporting Amazon, Inhabitatio Dei
- Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge, Media Mensch
- Self Publishers and Amazon, Writerly Stuff
- Amazon Tightens Grip On Printing, booktrade.info
- Amazon to Block Other POD Services from Using Amazon Marketplace, Dear Author
- Amazon trying to screw small presses?, lupabitch
- Dear Amazon, What are You Thinking? by Monica Valentinelli, Words on the Water
- Will Amazon Hurt Small Pagan Publishers?, The Wild Hund
- Amazon and us by Gill Polack
- Will Amazon Become the Google of the POD Industry? by Deborah Woehr
- Down with The Zon! by Celia Kyle
- Beyond the POD grab: The IDPF should fight Amazon’s new eBabel, look for anti-trust violations, and reach out to Google by David Rothman, TeleRead
- Amazon blocking books of competitive publishers?, electronista
- We are not amused–veinglory, PODPeople
- Bully on the block?, The Pearlsong Letter
- The monopolists: You need to worry about Amazon too by Eion Purcell
- Amazon owns the marketplace: return of the distributor, Thudfactor
- Is Amazon trying to monopolize the empowering Publish-On-Demand market?, Chris Boese’s Weblog
- 500 pound gorilla, Idle musings of a bookseller
- Bye-Bye “Buy Buttons” for POD Authors?, The Backroom at Dehanna.com
- Amazon Making a Big Mistake by Cheryl Pickett
- Amazon to force POD publishers to use Booksurge, Murder by 4
- Amazon.com’s dirty little deed, pds_lit
- Amazon’s Stupid Anti-Competitive Move, Principled Profit
- Amazon Bullying POD Writers and Publishers Unfairly, A-ha
- A Call to Bloggers: Stop Supporting Amazon, Resurrection Life
- Amazon.com Is On Drugs, Thought Patterns
- Amazon launches their weapon of mass destruction, steps on the long tail of independent authors by Mark Riffey
- Amazon puts the Squeeze on POD Publishers by Easy Author Web Sites