Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon Monopoly

Here's a pernicious piece of protectionism if I've ever met one.

Just as we are getting excited about the possibility of print-on-demand publication which will make sure our books are available as, and wherever, needed (and hopefully in the not too distant future this might mean Malaysian books having easy access to overseas markets), Amazon has announced that it will only sell POD titles published by its own Booksurge.

As Petrona says, it seems that the company is moving away from its previous business model. :
Whatever one might think of the business decision, it seems to signal the end of Amazon as a collaborative network of partners (buyers as well as sellers), and the start of Amazon as a traditional business, competing with publishers and competing for readers.
More about how the whole deal is supposed to work and the implications on it on O'Reilly Radar, which in turn links to commentary on other sites, including :

Booksquare which sees Amazon as amassing :
... essentially a secret army ...
and Virtualbookworm Blog which urges everyone with a blog or loud voice to spread the word about this unfair situation or contact Amazon’s Investor Relations via email at There's also an online petition.

There is in the end as well the power of the wallet - if you care about this issue (and you should because POD may well be the future of publishing) buy elsewhere for now.


Anonymous said...

If POD is the future of publishing, then there will no longer be "gatekeepers". the world will be flooded with lots of low quality books. In other words, the book industry will become like the Internet :) it's an interesting idea though, wha about write on demand ? a story machine, think about it :)

This is the end of classic literature isn't it ?

bibliobibuli said...

not necessarily. i think mainstream publishers could well go this way. just think of the savings in terms of warehousing and heavily polluting shipping. the technology is here already but the business model not.