Recently, Amazon announced that it is requiring on-demand publishers and authors to use its print-on-demand (POD) division, BookSurge, if they want to sell their titles as print-on-demand on Amazon.com.
Instead of competing on a level playing field with other POD companies such as iUniverse or Lightning Source, Amazon is flexing its muscles as the dominant retailer of books sold online. This could hurt authors who self-publish through POD by limiting their choice of printers to Amazon’s own company.
Publishers use electronic files of books sent over the Internet and printed on demand at retail sites to save on printing, inventory, and shipping costs and to reduce the risk of over-supply (unsold books) and pulping costs. With POD, publishers can sell books at lower prices to gain more sales.
With domination of the POD supply chain, there would be little restraint on Amazon’s capacity to impose monopoly pricing on fees it could charge for the use of BookSurge’s POD services or on the discounts it could demand of self-publishing authors and publishers for access to Amazon’s share of the on-line POD market – a share that, with this new BookSurge imposition by Amazon, can only grow.
Some POD publishers and websites are already saying they will have no choice but to buckle under to Amazon’s new policy because they need access to Amazon’s giant market. Nevertheless, other writers concerned about Amazon’s new POD restrictions are taking their business elsewhere.
Where is the Justice Department’s Anti-Trust Division when we need it?
The National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 strongly opposes Amazon’s new restriction on the print-on demand market and calls upon Amazon to immediately withdraw this monopolistic intrusion, or face our call for investigations by the Justice Department and Congress.