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POD Braces Itself Against Amazon

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-so-demanding dept.

Books 69

OMNIpotusCOM writes "As we've previously discussed, Amazon is in the process of taking the 'Buy' buttons off of published on demand (POD) books that were not created by Amazon's in-house publisher, BookSurge. PODdy Mouth has been reporting reactions throughout the week (including an open letter from Amazon), culminating today in letters to Amazon and their board by the Author's Guild, Small Publishers Association of North America, and the Publishers Marketing Association. Possible lawsuits are looming ... is it enough to change Amazon's mind?"

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69 comments

Well fuck me motherfucking sideways... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986602)

I got a boot sector virus here that won't stop loading itself into my DVD drives firmware. I'm trying to recover my system here when suddenly Slack installer tells me it I don't have an optical device anymore. Well how the fuck did I load the install disc then? I guess somehow I got it to halt mid-flash and the drive is bricked. Damn you faggot bastard child black-hat wanna-bes. Fuck you all with splintered wooden dildos with screws drilled through them. Of course, you'd probably like that, wouldn't you?

Re:Well fuck me motherfucking sideways... (-1, Offtopic)

nozzo (851371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986620)

fdisk /mbr ok?

Re:Well fuck me motherfucking sideways... (-1, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986690)

oh hai, I fxd your mister boot rekord 4 u

Re:Well fuck me motherfucking sideways... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986890)

Tucker bursts out of the elevator, looking around frantically. He sprints to the empty front desk. The clock behind the desk reads 4am. He hits the bell furiously for an obnoxiously long time until the sleeping clerk comes out.

TUCKER: Is there a bathroom down here?

FRONT DESK CLERK: Back corner of the lobby.

Tucker takes off. He turns the corner from the front desk and immediately realizes his mistake.

TUCKER: Which corner???

He spots a white door at one end of the lobby and quickly waddles to it as he holds his butt cheeks together. Tucker bursts through the door.

JANITOR: AAYYYYY!

It's a janitor's closet.

TUCKER: Where is the bathroom!?
JANITOR: Que? No, no habloingles!
TUCKER: WHAT?! Uh...uh...DONDEESTAEL FUCKING BANO?!!!

JANITOR (pointing across the lobby) Alla! Alla!

Sixty yards across from the janitor's closet, a large "RESTROOM" sign hangs above a door. Tucker breaks into a dead sprint. Twenty yards into the run his boxers start to sag. Thirty yards and his ass crack and legs get noticeably wet. Forty yards and his boxers have slid down to mid-thigh. Ten yards from the door and the brown, viscous liquid is all over him. Little specks hit the back of
his head and ears as he runs.

As he bursts into the restroom, he's completely shithimself. He steps out of his pink boxers, shitpuddle in the seat, and flings them blindly as he breaks into the first stall. He plops down on the seat and immediately slides off. His ass is covered in slimy, runny feces and spouts black, viscous human waste. Tucker flushes the full toilet and it overflows. He moves to the next stall until he finishes--exhausted, dehydrated, and tearing up from the exertion.

There's no toilet paper. Tucker takes off his shirt but discovers it's covered in little specks of shit.The large vanity mirror has a thick black streak from the ceiling down to the countertopwhere his boxers are crumpled in a ball. Naked and covered in speckles of his own poop, Tucker opens the bathroom to the lobby.

TUCKER: Who else on this earth could be having a worse night than me?

Laid out before him is a trail of his own feces. It starts wide at his feet and gets smaller until it apexes at the clunky white shoes of the small Mexican janitor.

TUCKER: Sorry. I mean, uh, lo siento.

Tucker walks defeated toward the elevators. The Lady Janitor is sobbing hysterically. Through the glass of the elevator, Tucker can see why she's crying. He sprayed shitover everything: the couches, the walls, the plants, everything.

TUCKER: God, I hope they serve beer in hell.

Amazon or ebay incognito? (4, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986634)

What is up with Amazons latest strategy?

In the past there was always products sold by amazon, and then a link to 'used & new' which I never touched because when I go to amazon, I'm looking specifically to by a NEW item from amazon themselves, and for amazon to take direct responsibility if there are any fuck ups.

Now they are trying really hard to blur the lines between their own products and those of other vendors.
I only noticed this after I bought an item which I had no reason to believe was *not* coming from amazon, when I got an email saying:

Would you like to leave RIP_U_OFF_4_THE_LULZ feedback on your recent purchase?

This is not a good direction, but hey, they practically have a monopoly on cheap online books so what am I gonna do.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (2, Informative)

alen (225700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986636)

for cheap tech books, bookpool.com is the way to go. way cheaper than amazon

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988386)

I always check bookpool (and recommend them) but the last few times I've checked, the books I wanted were out of stock.

Twofo Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986680)

Goatse. [twofo.co.uk] [goatse.ch]

You nerds love it.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986694)

In the past there was always products sold by amazon, and then a link to 'used & new' which I never touched because when I go to amazon, I'm looking specifically to by a NEW item from amazon themselves, and for amazon to take direct responsibility if there are any fuck ups.

That's funny, because I always go straight for the "Used and new listings". For CDs, third-party sellers like Caiman or NEWBURYCOMICS are better value than than Amazon itself. To give an example appropriate for this week, Messiaen's opera Saint François d'Assise [amazon.com] is over $10 cheaper by choosing Caiman than ordering from Amazon itself. Yet, the product is exactly the same: a nicely wrapped, brand-new CD (and Caiman doesn't ship cut-outs).

If I could deal directly with these third-party sellers and cut out Amazon, I would, and maybe I'd save a dollar more. But getting them from Amazon is convenient. And if you are worried about a third-party seller screwing you over, from the community feedback you can get a good idea is the third-party seller is reputable. For CDs, I've never had any problems with either Caiman or NEWBURYCOMICS, while a couple of minor sellers have disappointed me on occasion.

For books, the high cost of shipping from third-party sellers often cancels out the savings, unfortunately.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

police inkblotter (1228830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989260)

And if you happen to live in New England, Newbury Comics is an excellent brick & mortar record shop with plenty of stuff to satisfy most types of nerds (anime, spawn figurines, kiss figurines, simpsons, family guy, and futurama paraphenalia, american comics and graphic novels, japanese comics and graphic novels, and pocky and ramune! Not to mention an awesome collection of noise-rock).

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22991020)

Half.com is eBay's basic counterpart to Amazon's service that you describe, and I use it often, but sometimes there are issues there, and for certain things I can agree with the OP in that I want to deal with a COMPANY, not another user.

For example, there was a point where I was just too afraid to order a season of Babylon 5 off of Half.com for the simple reason that many of the listings were of the Chinese version. Now, in an interesting twist there were in English with Chinese subtitles (that you didn't have to turn on), so technically it was a watchable season, but it didn't work for somebody really looking to collect the official US-versions of the show.

Then I've noticed rampant misrepresentation in categories too. Half.com has lots of condition categories like "Brand New", "Like New", "Very Good", etc. If you're not careful you can get scammed here. Countless times I've seen something like a video game listed in the "Brand New" category and the description reads "Brand New!!! - Only played once to try it!". Sometimes I just want to shake whoever wrote that while screaming "THEY MADE THE LIKE NEW CATEGORY FOR A REASON YA NITWIT!!!!!".

So yeah, I can see where he's coming from. Amazon's 3rd party seller program, Half.com, ebay, etc, all have a "flea market" aspect to them. Sometimes that's worth dredging through, but sometimes I want to avoid it. Amazon would be unwise to take away my method of avoiding it.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (2)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986730)

I'd noticed a similar pattern. Amazon used to stock a huge proportion of the books they listed, now you hit a lot of listings and all you get is a "new/used" link to some company of unknown quality. They're all traders registered with Amazon, so the new quality should be the same (and can be a lot cheaper) but why the shirking of responsibility for actually selling stuff?

POD sounds like a good idea, but forcing a single supplier seems like potential commercial suicide (probably not for such a big company, but certainly not helpful).

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987036)

A couple years ago, Amazon started allowing third party sellers to create product pages (what Amazon calls detail pages) on the Amazon site. More recently, Amazon started allowing sellers to create pages for pre-ISBN books (books that were published before the ISBN system became standard).

I.e. many of the books that don't have an Amazon presence would not be listed on the site otherwise, because the book itself is out of print and Amazon can't get copies from the publisher.

I'd be interested in seeing an example product where there is no indication that the product is not from Amazon. That sounds like a bug. The usual experience is like http://www.amazon.com/Webkinz-Black-White-Panda-Plush/dp/B000HPNK6Y/ [amazon.com] -- note that it clear says "Ships from and sold by ABCTOY4me" above the Add to Cart button.

This whole exclusive POD thing is odd in that it is a restriction on *buyers* more than on sellers. Sellers can still sell POD on Amazon, but now the buyer has to jump through an extra hoop to make the purchase. How does that help Amazon? Third party sales offer Amazon a 15% commission without any manufacturing liability. What makes the Booksurge sales more valuable than that? Also, will Amazon actually sell copies of these items? Or are they just chasing selection off of their site?

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987262)

inventory risk

why spend your capital to buy niche products that may sit in the warehouse for months when you can rent website space to let someone else take the risk. this way you can spend your capital to buy up top 40 CD's and bestseller books that will sell more copies

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995848)

why spend your capital to buy niche products that may sit in the warehouse for months when you can rent website space to let someone else take the risk. this way you can spend your capital to buy up top 40 CD's and bestseller books that will sell more copies.

      Amazon didn't carry inventory of POD books, that's why they're called Print On Demand. They get printed when there's a retail purchase.

      Major wholesalers do carry some minor POD stock so they can ship overnight, but Amazon just has them do the shipping out of inventory or printing as needed.

      That all changes now with Amazon's ultimatums, and your argument is now reversed. As the only wholesaler/retailer for all POD books sold on Amazon, they actually have to carry POD inventory now to be able to ship overnight, but it's their Booksurge inventory.

      They have incurred POD inventory risk, not eliminated it.

  rd

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988666)

why the shirking of responsibility for actually selling stuff?
Money. Amazon know it can make more money by getting rid of its warehouses, and acting as a middle man, aka ebay.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (4, Funny)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986836)

Ahhh, good old RIP_U_OFF_4_THE_LULZ, now there's a good old fashioned bookseller you can really trust.

Let me tell you about independent publishing. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986856)

Let me tell you about independent publishing. I own a small business, with six employees. We do Flash games, web development, and other custom software projects. On Friday I wasn't feeling so well. A bit of the flu, I suppose. Regardless of my health, our work must go on. So there the entire company was, sitting in our 10'x10' meeting room with two representatives from one of our larger clients. In short, I shit my pants. It wasn't a solid shit, either. It was diarrhea that ended up dripping down my legs onto my shoes, and then onto the carpet. And in a meeting room as small as ours, packed with nine people in it, it isn't an enjoyable experience. Needless to say, the reps from our client were not impressed. And tomorrow I get to deal with the repercussions of the whole ordeal. Since I clean our office (we can't afford a cleaning firm), I'll probably get to clean up the now-dried stool that has no doubt been festering there all weekend.

Re:Let me tell you about independent publishing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22988472)

I, for one, do not welcome our pant-shitting underlords. You're Fired!(tm)

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986922)

I especially love that they seem to be completely unable to ship me anything I want. 9/10 of the items I've recently tried to purchase from Amazon UK, US or DE (Germany) have been labelled 'Currently, this item can only be shipped to the [insert country I don't live in here]'.
Endless fun, especially since I'm logged in, which means that they automatically know that I don't live in [Britain|USA|Germany]. GAAAH!

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987062)

What country are you in?
Australia gets everything fine. From the .com site anyway.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 6 years ago | (#22990118)

Endless fun, especially since I'm logged in, which means that they automatically know that I don't live in [Britain|USA|Germany]. GAAAH!

Just because you're signed in doesn't mean you can't order product and have it shipped somewhere else, right?

You'd be surprised how many country-based restrictions exist on book product. Amazon, for example, may get distribution rights for a particular book only for certain countries, and that publisher has someone else (perhaps a local firm) that services that foreign market.

Vote with your wallet (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986992)

The savings are not THAT much more than what you can get elsewhere. I stopped buying anything from Amazon when they patented the 'One Click Buy' way back and I have bought nothing from them since. I've payed a couple of bucks more here and there for books, but hardly enough to make it worth doing business with such an ethically bankrupt organization.

Re:Vote with your wallet (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987026)

The FSF and Stallman called off their boycott of Amazon nearly six years ago [gnu.org] . Get with the times.

Re:Vote with your wallet (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987146)

Um, ok, but it's my boycott, not theirs. I'm not a lemming like so many others are. Since my inital reason for not doing business with them they have done little to nothing to make me care enough to give them any. You shop where you want, I'll shop where I want :)

have a nice day

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (2, Informative)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989902)

This is not a good direction, but hey, they practically have a monopoly on cheap online books so what am I gonna do.
Well, there is powells.com (which is the website for a bookstore in Portland, OR) and abebooks.com, which is a conglomeration of independent bookstores. And that's just off the top of my head. Seriously, there are quite a number of other choices. You just have to look.

Re:Amazon or ebay incognito? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995782)

There's also bookfinder.com (I remember it as mxbf.com, which still works).

*duh* (5, Insightful)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986640)

I am gonna go way, WAY out on a limb here and say "No".

No major company would willingly piss off this many people and customers without carefully considering how it would affect them (Not if it plans on remaining a major company).

They probably have estimates of how many lawsuits are likely, their probability of success, how many donuts they are gonna eat during the trials...

That said, SHOULD they change their mind? I think that forcing your customers into one path tends to piss them off, especially if your forcing them into a path that is extremely profitable for you (AKA MS Vendor lockin).

It might work in the short run, but it could damage Amazon's brand name.

Re:*duh* (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986744)

No major company would willingly piss off this many people and customers without carefully considering how it would affect them (Not if it plans on remaining a major company).
Microsoft, Sony, and eBay leap to mind...

Re:*duh* (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987100)

^_^ They F*ed up, but I promise they did a cost analysis before starting.
They just got it wrong... in some cases VERY wrong.

Re:*duh* (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987962)

So few companies care. For example, my company was recently bought by larger company. First thing they do is start changing everything pissing off the customers they bought us for. When I brought up this fact the no one cared. They figured the customers will just deal with it.

Re:*duh* (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989836)

I'm going to blow my moderation and chip in.

There was a major company that pwned mainframe change control.

So completely that they raised prices over 100% in one year, laid off 50% of their support staff, and reduced commissions to their salespeople.

It so pissed off their customer base that they basically died in 2005 to 2007 period. It didn't matter what they did to try to make things right, the customers were so angry that they were not going back regardless. My large corp will no longer use them by policy.

Human beings lead companies. If the top 3-5 human beings have a brain fart, (say like Bear Stearns) then the rest of their workers get pulled along for the ride.

Oh.. and at my large corp, they specifically only listen to ignorant outside contractors advice for the last 12-15 years, ignoring the advice of the experts they hired (and wonder why their staff is quasi pissed off-- hmm hire an expert and then ignore his advice over that of clueless newbs).

I agree your process is what happens in a well managed company-- probably 10-15% of major corps.

Re:*duh* (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#22990714)

That said, SHOULD they change their mind? I think that forcing your customers into one path tends to piss them off, especially if your forcing them into a path that is extremely profitable for you (AKA MS Vendor lockin).
They're pissing off their vendors, not their customers. Much in the same way that Wal*Mart strong-arms suppliers, but their customers appreciate the lower prices. If the end quality of product is the same or better, why should a customer care that it was printed by Amazon rather than some third party printer?
 

Re:*duh* (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23023406)

but their customers appreciate the lower prices. If the end quality of product is the same or better, why should a customer care that it was printed by Amazon rather than some third party printer?

Because the prices won't remain the same - they will have to be raised to pay PayPal fees. Probably in the form of increased "postage" costs in the case of eBay.

Thin end of the wedge (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986654)

What happens if books are available on POD and in a conventionally printed form. There is nothing to stop BookSurge offering out-of-print classics through POD.

What's to stop Amazon only allowing POD versions of these books to customers. You may want a high-quality leather-bound Shakespeare, but Amazon may only let you have a POD paperback!

Also, what about authors who already have POD contracts with other publishers. They are condemned never to appear on amazon searches, which a lot of people use to find books on esoteric subjects thinking they cover most available material.

Re:Thin end of the wedge (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986674)

Also, what about authors who already have POD contracts with other publishers. They are condemned never to appear on amazon searches, which a lot of people use to find books on esoteric subjects thinking they cover most available material.

Amazon are pretty dominant in the on-line book sales market at the moment, but moves like this won't keep them that way. It seems to me that they are creating a big opportunity for one of their rivals to get ahead with the small/independent publishers. If I were an executive at, say, Barnes & Noble or Bookpool, I would be rubbing my hands together with glee, contacting the kinds of industry body mentioned in these blog posts, and talking about new ways to promote these markets more aggressively.

Re:Thin end of the wedge (1)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987772)

And once you add both of the good books from the small publishers, then what? Sit back and watch people not buy them, and complain about declining American literacy?

Re:Thin end of the wedge (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988160)

I don't understand this prejudice that people have shown in this discussion and the other recent one on a related subject. Sure, there are a lot of people using POD or certain small publishers who are basically vanity authors. But there are also some people who write well and provide useful, interesting or funny material.

The thing is, the story is exactly the same with the large publishing houses. While the signal-noise ratio may be somewhat better, I'm not convinced it's by much: most of the widely advertised technical books I've bought from major publishers recently have been disappointing, too.

For example, I've followed the work of Simon Peyton-Jones for a while now. He wrote a chapter in Beautiful Code about Software Transactional Memory, which was also freely available on-line. It was up to his usual excellent standards: interesting, informative and highly readable. I wondered what else I might learn and bought the whole book... and found that much of the rest is obvious, boring, and generally not worth the cost of the paper it's printed on. And this was the much-hyped, much-awarded, critically-acclaimed book of the year, full of insights that let you see into the minds of some of the brightest stars in our industry today? Bollocks was it.

As a more subtle example, I preferred Code Complete's first edition to the second. I found the advice in the latter often contrary to my own experiences of what works well — a criticism I rarely, if ever, levelled at the first edition. The revised version reads like McConnell (or his publisher?) felt he should cover now-mainstream topics like exceptions and OO. Alas, rather than filling it with solid, practical advice and evidence from the trenches as in the first version, the revised version is just full of examples using trendy OO languages. But worse, the new parts contain a lot of commentary that sounds more like the standard OO marketing spiel than the battle-hardened wisdom of the earlier book. I half-expect to see a third edition in a few years, suddenly discovering the joys of functional programming languages and proclaiming the advantages of computing without state, just as the industry leaders are approaching Peyton-Jones's "both useful and safe" utopia and concluding that sometimes state really is the easiest way to express things as long as it's managed in a controlled way.

It's unfortunate that these are the first two examples that came to my mind, because they are far from the worst books on the market today. Indeed, there is enough really good material in either that I would still recommend them (with caveats) to a lot of people. But they are also good examples of the fact that just having a big name publisher is no guarantee you'll get a great book. If you can take work from authors of the calibre of Peyton-Jones and McConnell, yet produce books like Beautiful Code and Code Complete, 2nd Edition, you are doing something wrong.

Re:Thin end of the wedge (2, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988204)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but I feel obliged to point out for anyone who doesn't know that Beautiful Code is a compendium of chapters written by many different contributing authors. I mentioned Peyton-Jones by name, but he was only responsible for that one (very good) chapter; the disappointing material I mentioned came from some of the other contributors. Sorry for not making this clear in the parent post.

Re:Thin end of the wedge (1)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23055514)

I didn't in any way mean to imply that major publishers put out nothing but quality material. It's sketchy as heck.

That said, I'd guess that 1 in 10 major publisher books are readable (not great, but you can plow through them without throwing them on the fire) whereas POD is at least an order of magnitude worse.

This is a problem for the Nmap book (5, Informative)

fv (95460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986702)

This is a major problem for my upcoming book documenting the Nmap Security Scanner [nmap.org] . I was planning to print Nmap Network Scanning [nmap.org] with Lightning Source POD and sell it through Amazon. Now Amazon says I need to use their own BookSurge company instead. Leaving aside the anti-competitive nature of this, there is the issue of BookSurge's terrible quality reputation. They are known for missing pages, printing covers upside-down, etc. So people who buy my book through Amazon will be stuck with the shitty BookSurge version, and they will surely blame me for this. I really hope Amazon relents, or I will have to rethink my whole distribution plan. I'm now against using BookSurge on principle. If Amazon keeps playing these anti-competitive games, at least there is always online distribution. Almost half of the book chapters are already online for free:

And I hope to free more chapters in the coming week. Amazon may not care about losing my Nmap book, but I hope enough people stand up to Amazon that they really feel the effect!

-Fyodor [insecure.org]

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986724)

Thanks for the shameless plug.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986742)

Hey Fyodor, as a longstanding user of nmap, I just wanted to say thanks for all that you've done for the community, and wherever you end up having it published/distributed through, I'll be sure to pick up a copy :)

Cowar D. Anymouse.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22986750)

If only amazon wouldn't have burned you, you could have made those links affiliate links and even got some money out of your advertisement.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (1, Offtopic)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986756)

Can't you get your own ISBN and then it doesn't matter who you get to print your books? It could be POD, your local publisher, or something else entirely.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22991822)

That's exactly how you work with Lightning Source. They're a division of Ingram, the massive book distributor, so there are no problems working with Amazon.com's supply chain -- unless Amazon.com makes problems.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987002)

Doesn't this only apply to POD? If you're printing more than 500, which I assume you will be, then this isn't a big deal. You can use your favorite local printer and ship them in batches of 50 to Amazon who then redistribute them to their supply depots. Amazon aren't saying you must only use their printers for everything, just low volume print on demand.

Besides, this is only limited to the "Buy now" option on their website pages. You can still list a book with Amazon as a reseller, link it to your own web page and then sell them from there. In fact you would make a greater profit by doing that because you wouldn't be paying Amazon 30%-40%.

Finally, do some research and you will see that there's a pattern amongst all authors like you Fyodor. Because I like to give the author the maximum money for their efforts I always buy direct from them if I can. O'Reilly, McMillan, Elsevier etc have all scaled back their production of textbooks in the last few years so recently I've noticed a pattern where for numerous books on niche technical subjects the author does:

1) Write a quality textbook
2) Publish it on your website and do the marketing yourself (people buy the book from where _you_ tell them to)
3) Once you pass the 2000 mark and students start ordering through bookshops a distributer like Barnes & Noble _come_to_you_ !!!
4) You are in a position to negotiate a non-exclusive distribution and continue to sell from your website in competition
5) Now you're in a win-win situation, you get the Amazon listings via the distributer and the larger profit for the 20-30% of
customers who still come through your website
6) Once you pass the 5-10000 mark you will find publishers start to serenade you, again you can negotiate a non-exclusive deal
because you've done all the work/marketing and the publisher can offer no real consideration, you have them where you want.

So, the first step when you finish the book is to register a company as a small publisher, buy a small block of ISBN numbers (10), print 500
or 1000 (not POD) and list yourself on Amazon as an traditional independent producer, ship some to Amazon on return and place a link to your site.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987492)

All sounds very complex and time consuming, what with starting up a book company, become a distributor and require an initial outlay of funds to cover the original print run.

Plus several steps in the process require that publishers blanket change their normal approach to publishing and start accepting non-exclusive rights on an already published book. Something most publishers have an allergic reaction to.

An alternative method, would be to stick to Lightening Source and, since most POD books are sold by way of the author directing people to the place to buy the book, send everyone to Barnes and Noble. Thus sticking two fingers up at Amazon, allowing you to use your preferred POD company and not having to muck about with stuff like becoming a publisher. Oh, and allowing fyodor to spend more time working on nmap.

Re:This is a problem for the Nmap book (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22992400)

That's dandy and all but it re-introduces several headaches that POD was designed to cure in the first place.

Just for a minute there (1)

ezzthetic (976321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22986734)

I imagined Amazons battling the Prince of Darkness ...

Self Published Dreck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22987068)

I'm OK with this. Maybe this will see an end to the self-published garbage that has flooded the marketplace lately. Editors exist for a reason: most writers can't edit their own copy. How many self published books are worth reading? One in fifty? MAYBE?

Think I'm being harsh? Try this on for size:

http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Day-Planet-Earth/dp/1425906958/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207568585&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

Re:Self Published Dreck (3, Informative)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987716)

POD isn't really about self publishing, even though it lends itself well to it. It's about books always being "in print", no matter how obscure or small the demand.

Do not pass Go? (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987160)

I don't understand. Isn't this the very definition of monopolistic no-nos? Company with great majority of market in one area leverages that for dominance in another market. Why isn't the DoJ already involved? Or will it be once we stop having a "Corporations are always right!" administration (if that ever happens)?

Re:Do not pass Go? (2, Informative)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987464)

maybe because they don't have a majority of the market [fonerbooks.com] , even this computerworld article [computerworld.com] critical of the move and claiming monopolistic tactics says they have 15% of the market

Re:Do not pass Go? (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987776)

Ah. Thank you. Here I go confuzzling majority and plurality again. I was more referring to the online book retail market, and the 15% number refers to total book retail, but that's probably what the investigators look at.

Re:Do not pass Go? (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22993498)

Unfortunately, as suggested by a sibling comment, they are looking at all book sales, online and offline, and not just online sales. For online sales, they are probably in monopoly territory (the only other online seller on that list is BN.com, and they are an order of magnitude smaller).

Re:Do not pass Go? (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23078254)

if more people are buying books offline than online, then why does it matter that they do the majority of online sales? Linux is probably the dominant operating system among those that are distributed by bittorrent, but that's meaningless because most people don't get their operating system that way. you're making the term monopoly meaningless by letting it apply to specific distribution channels that aren't even used by the majority of people.

Re:Do not pass Go? (1)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988822)

Even if they were a monopoly, which they really aren't, where have you been hiding the last 8 years? This administration would never do anything to harm the golden calf of corporate profits.

effect (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22987236)

Amazon isn't going to make the customers made with this. They are going (in theory) to make their customers happy. Because they have less stock to carry they can offer lower prices and if they put printers around the country they can offer faster shipping. They did make the POD industry mad but I would imagine that is a chance they are willing to take. I don't buy own POD books so at the end of the day this doesn't change my relationship with Amazon. (I did write a POD book which is affected by this but I haven't sold any copies on Amazon so there is no effect.)

nothing new from amazon, nothing new to publishers (1)

drfireman (101623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22988836)

Amazon is currently, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, the worst possible online bookstore, except for all the alternatives. From a customer point of view, the web site is comically bad. From a small publisher point of view, they seem at best hostile. They're good for many things, and I'll continue to use them, but one-stop shopping for books is no longer something they're willing to provide. Yes, this will hurt certain publishers, in the same way many publishers are hurt when Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and the local grocery store won't stock their books. But for the moment, they're free to sell what they want. Small publishers know that certain outlets are unavailable to them, so this is really nothing new.

Truly Anti-Competitive behaviour ... (1)

CalcuttaWala (765227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989336)

Amazon is a distributor and should remain one.
Today they start dictating the printer from whom I get my book printed ... or else !!
Tomorrow they will tell me what I can write ... or else !!
and since they are SO BIG, i really have no chance ( or no guts) to ask them go FISH ...

Different pricing model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989384)

It would be one thing if the BookSurge pricing model was exactly the same as Lightning Source's. But it isn't. LS basically gets paid by the page (i.e., the price you pay them has a direct relation to how much it costs them to print it), whereas BookSurge works on a percentage-of-cover-price basis. This is the case even when you buy books from them directly for distribution via other channels (direct sales, or review copies, etc.); they offer you "substantial author discounts" (up to 30%).

For non-fiction, this can make quite a difference, since there the cover prices vary much more than with fiction.

Although Lightning Source has sent me an explanatory email, it seems the "buy" button of my book [curly-brace.com] on computer programming is still available.

Good and bad (1)

zegota (1105649) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989700)

A large number of POD books (not all of them, by any means) are printed by vanity presses (see PublishAmerica). While it sucks for the legitimate self-published and POD authors not to have their books available, I can't say I'm too sad that there is one less venue for these other "publishers" to take advantage of authors.

YOU FAIL IT?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22990534)

exe8plified by [goat.cx]

My POD experience with Lulu (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995526)

I've recently self-published my book Zero to Superhero [zerotosuperhero.com] at Lulu.com [lulu.com] , and the masterplan was to have it distributed by Lulu to Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble etc. One hundred dollars and 18 weeks later, and Lulu still hasn't had my book distributed to Amazon as promised. Or anywhere for that matter.

Saturday I discovered that Amazon will no longer accept books from other POD publishers, so even if Lulu were to finally act to fulfill their promise and my order, they can't. Lulu has yet to reply to my email asking for answers either, and the online help was useless.

I'm not sure what to do at this point. Most of my sales have been directly from my own website, but I would've liked to have my book available at the internet's largest book retailer as well (or at least my $100 back).

Re:My POD experience with Lulu (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22995964)

To be fair, this was a surprise action by Amazon. Lots of people are hosed. Lots of companies are hosed, the companies as you can imagine hosed even more than you are.

      A couple of mitigating factors: Any POD publisher can list as a third party seller on Amazon, there are costs and margin tradeoffs. I don't know what the POD's are going to do about Amazon.

      The other is that there is next to zero chance that a person will ever look at an Amazon web page for a book without being pointed there from elsewhere. That includes any book published however without something to make people aware of it. So if you had done your deal a year ago and was on Amazon for a year there would still be no noticeable difference at this point than not being there to start with, unless you were able to get potential buyers to your book page.

      Nothing against you or POD, just true in general.

  rd

Re:My POD experience with Lulu (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996140)

Amazon's product referrals, customer reviews and gazillion other algorithms to have people buy stuff would've helped sales. I can't possibly see how you could say otherwise.

And 18 weeks wait, when I was promised 6 to 8? That's flat out bad service.

Re:My POD experience with Lulu (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 6 years ago | (#22996172)


      you're joking, right?

  rd

Think about this (1)

Mary Klaebel (1272374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23055822)

Letting Amazon get away with this will only lead them to greater conquests until they control all publishing in the country. Do you want Amazon telling you what to write, read and think? Also, if you agree to their contract, they dictate what can be charged for your book, and forbid you from giving deeper discounts on your own (such as to a non-profit through your website). Unless, of course, you like dictatorship. Monopolies.
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