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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

April 01, 2008

Brief word from Lulu

In that same forum (link in yesterday's post, I'm too busy to go get it for ya and you have to be a Lulu user anyway):

"We would like to assure our users that Lulu continues to have a strong relationship with Amazon..com. As a result, the recent changes Amazon.com has announced should not adversely affect Lulu content listed within Amazon.com in any way.

Regards,
Adam"


Outta here!

UPDATE 4/2 6:00 AM: Publishers Weekly reports Ingram's response to Amazon's policy and open letter here. Most of the article simply summarizes the open letter, but here is the gist of what Ingram is saying:
In his statement, John Ingram said that while “the questions that are being raised about Amazon.com and its Booksurge division don't directly relate to Ingram - either Lightning Source Inc. or Ingram Book Group - it clearly is alarming many of our publisher partners.” According to John Ingram, “publishers are telling us they feel Amazon.com’s actions are not appropriate.” John Ingram’s statement adds that the company has been unable to get a direct response from Amazon about its pod shift.

“We all live in a world where decisions are made about insourcing and outsourcing, and free choice is important,” the statement continues. “At Ingram Book and Lightning Source, we are going to work really hard to continue to be the compelling choice as publishers make their outsourcing decisions. Our breadth of distribution channels including the online retailers remains the same, and Ingram still provides one day turnaround in the fulfillment of orders for books including print on demand titles.”


And Ingram's POD division Lightning Source has apparently issued the following statement to its customers:
Dear Customer,

Lightning Source has been following the recent press coverage and discussions about Amazon.com and BookSurge. We are aware of the concern this is causing the publishing community. The issue centers around Amazon.com tying the availability of your books and terms of sale at Amazon.com to the production of books at the Amazon.com subsidiary BookSurge, specifically requiring you to use BookSurge in order to sell on Amazon.

Like you, we are very concerned about any conduct that would serve to limit a publishers choice in supply chain partners and to negatively impact the cost of your products to consumers. We believe that choice and selection of best of class services are critical to the long term success of publishers and a vibrant book market.

Lightning Source continues to provide the highest quality digital on demand print and distribution services for every one of our customers. All your titles continue to be available to all of our channel partners, including Amazon.com, with immediate availability for shipment within 24 hours.

We are committed to providing you with the best of class quality product and fastest distribution service in the market, and will continually work to develop new channels and new offerings.

Lightning Source will continue to monitor this situation and let you know when we have more information.
Please feel free to call your Lightning Source point of contact, if you have any additional questions.


So...Ingram's saying Amazon can still order from them the way they have been. Lulu (whose books on Amazon are currently supplied by Ingram) is saying there will be no affect on Lulu customers. But unless Amazon modifies its policy to specify certain POD books, not all POD books, all three cannot be companies cannot be correct, and we have what looks like an impasse but is probably just a logical blackhole created by the PR. [speculation] Since Lulu and Ingram seem to either be resisting or compromising with Amazon, I am *guessing* that Amazon will, in effect, modify its policy (perhaps without stating that they are doing so); it would make sense for them to continue to order Lulu, Lightning Source & other non-BookSurge POD titles that are doing well for them. Otherwise they stand to lose revenue and their place as the "we've got everything" retailer. The POD titles that are not selling well for Amazon will continue to be deactivated unless the publishers (micro, small or self-) comply with the BookSurge requirement. This will probably hurt self publishers the most.[/end speculation]

As I sort of vaguely pointed out in the "In practical terms" post, switching to the Amazon Advantage program is being touted by Amazon as an alternative to adding BookSurge for Amazon availability. But the publisher of my first poetry book used that--it was a new press using traditional offset printing and did not qualify for a contract with Ingram, Consortium, or other distributors/wholesalers (which have annual sales/volume requirements a new small press can't meet). The publisher sent 5 books at a time to Amazon, which reordered as necessary. The resulting lag time between reorder and fulfillment meant my book was often "out of stock--more on the way" much of the time. (Which is primarily why I bought a bunch of copies and started selling it myself on my website.) How do out-of-stock books better serve Amazon's customers? Beats me.

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2 Comments:

  • I just put this up at pantaloons:

    http://pantaloons.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_pantaloons_archive.html#9125843489945957183%239125843489945957183

    Amazon inhabits a low-lying area. It and its print production unit BookSurge are now riding roughshod over the POD industry by intimating that they will cut off small- and medium-scale publishers that use nonaffiliates for printing books. In other words, Amazon aims to commandeer the pipeline from production to sales. As is fairly obvious by assessing other creative industries, films, television, music, if small press book marketing integrates with manufacturing, the ivory tower, aka editorial -- that is, a good chunk of creative taste-making / decision-making -- stands ready to fall under the control of entrepreneurial influence, such as that of Amazon Web Services, AWS, Inc.

    The obvious has been in place for some time now. As a small press publisher I found it hugely unprofitable to partner with Amazon two or three years ago. After forwarding dozens of copies of several titles and 'selling' all of them, I wound up owing Amazon money because of commissions and registration fees. I was asked to pay for Amazon's profiting from my labor and production. That's a foretaste of the lowlife of the small press publisher of the future who for 'prestige' or for some other rationalized motive chooses (or is coerced) to print and market with AWS.

    By Blogger Jack, at 1:03 PM  

  • thanks, jack! i was away when you posted this, but have caught up now & added it to the news feed.

    By Blogger shanna, at 3:34 PM  

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