Self Publishers and Amazon

After going through and reading some of the stuff eBay is up to, I was kind of surprised to see Amazon up to some tricks, too.

If You Use Lightning Source Instead of BookSurge

I'm sure you know Amazon bought BookSurge about a year ago or so; they' a self-publishing option for those who want to go that route.

Well, it seems that if you use Lightning Source (PublishAmerica, anyone?), Amazon will remove the "Buy" button from your book; books printed by the aforementioned PublishAmerica (PA) have already had the Buy buttons removed.

But...There's A Catch (Isn't There Always One?)

The catch, the way I read it, is you have to agree to Amazon's contract and use BookSurge.

An informative page about this whole Amazon/BookSurge thing is at the Writer's Weekly site (Angela Hoy, who also runs the epublisher, Booklocker). Here, specifically, is what the fuss is all about:
Mr. Clifford [of Amazon] said authors of those books could participate in the Amazon.com Advantage Program, meaning they would have to pay Amazon $29.95 per year PLUS 55% of the list price of their book, as well as buy and then send those books to Amazon directly for them to warehouse and ship to customers.
More and more fees and stuff. Doesn't seem right, especially as a lot of authors want their book with Lightning Source, as it uses Ingram as a distributor.

And something else in favor of Lightning Source:
Amazon/BookSurge would make money two ways on Amazon.com sales - first the fee for printing the books, and then 48% of the list price of each sale through Amazon.com. Lightning Source allows its customers to set their own discount rate for Amazon and other retail sales, and does not force POD publishers or authors to pay "48%."
So...What to Do?

I'm not in the self publishing boat, fortunately. Ms. Hoy is seriously considering moving all of the books in Booklocker to Barnes and Noble. But that'll take time, as she has lots of books up at Amazon.

For those published by bigger or smaller presses...it looks as if everything is okay right now. (If anyone comes up with anymore info, feel free to post your comment; I'll probably blog about it at some point.)

But who knows? I'm currently an Amazon Associate, although I haven't taken advantage of it all that much (I post books on reviews is about the extent of using it).

I wonder if B&N has a similar program?

Since this seems to have happened in just the past day or so (talk about fast), I'm sure more things will shake out about this.

One Thing Is For Sure...

I hope Amazon reverses itself on this. My feeling is that maybe they're not getting enough people to go with BookSurge, and they think only force can provide them with the moolah they want?

Oy vey. Not liking this, FWIW.

~Nancy Beck


Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for stopping by Fantasy Debut! You have a seriously cool blog, and I'll be adding it to my blogrolls on both of my blogs (I have a writer blog, too). I especially liked your post about snobbery in writing. Those writers who write for shared worlds have to go through a long vetting process before they actually get to write anything that will be published, so I have great respect for them.

richard hoy at booklocker.com said...

Howdy there!

This is Angela Hoy. Thank you SO much for helping to spread the word about. Wanted to make a note about your comment about our books on BarnesandNoble.com.

All our 1500+ print books are already on BarnesandNoble.com. Part of what Lightning Source/Ingram offers, that Amazon/BookSurge does not is a massive feed that goes to numerous online bookstores worldwide. We don't even have to lift a finger, thank goodness! :)

Have a beautiful weekend, everybody!


Lisa said...

As I understand, although Lighting Source might not force what authors/publisher pay, the ultimate price of the books is minimally set based on the cost of the printing + distributor fees + book store fees. Most book stores demand 40%
(Printing cost will vary depending on page length, color used, number of books to be printed . . .)

Even still, concerning that Amazon is forcing out Lighting Source books!

Nancy Beck said...

@tia: You've got a great blog; I've gotten some good books to look forward to specifically because of your blog.

I love reading debut authors! :-) It's exciting to be in on the ground floor, so to speak. ;-)

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I'll be doing the same, once I've rolled out the redesign of the blog. :-)

@richard hoy: A belated "you're welcome!" :-) Glad it's working out for you (although, jeez, moving over all those titles must've taken a lot of work).

@lisa: Another thing about all this Amazon stuff: Although I can understand that this will probably shake out a lot of fly-by-night micopresses/e-pubs, what does this do to the totally legit ones?

Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog! :-)