Thursday, January 21, 2010

Amazon Settles Lawsuit with Booklocker - Good News for POD Publishers?!

If you have been following the field of self-publishing and POD printing for long, you have probably heard the stories and rumors about Amazon trying to corner the market on the self-publishing and POD market by forcing small POD publishers and self-publishing authors to use Booksurge.  The story was first broken and made public in Writer's Weekly.

The owners of Booklocker confronted Amazon about the rumors and upon finding them to be true, filed a lawsuit against Amazon.  Amazon and Booklocker have announced that a settlement has been reached. 

This is good news for self-publishing authors in general as Amazon is one of the main, if not the primary points of sale for our books.  Even though I am an advocate of using CreateSpace, many authors use Lightning Source as their POD printer and take advantage of Ingram distribution by doing so. Using CreateSpace has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of distribution.  The primary advantage is the direct link to Amazon and the speed with which your book is listed.  The disadvantage is the mandatory 40% discount that must be given to Amazon.

Competition is good for all of us and while Amazon has been a big help to all of us who self-publish, if Amazon had succeeded in cornering the market and achieving a monopoly on POD self-publishing, how long would it be before the 40% discount climbed to a higher number? Hopefully Amazon will stay the course and not try this approach a second time.

While pure speculation on my part, one has to wonder if the settlement is part of what led Amazon to diversify the services provided to authors by CreateSpace? If Amazon could not corner the market by bullying everyone to BookSurge or CreateSpace, have they decided to do it the old fashioned way by offering a better product, improved service or new services?

This is why competition is good. Amazon now has an agreement of sorts with Lightning who will in fact print some of Amazon POD books in certain situations. By expanding the services that CreateSpace offers and still using LSI when needed, Amazon has thrown down the gauntlet to other self-publishing/author services companies.  They will have to improve and maintain competitive pricing in order to compete with Amazon.

If you would like to learn more about the entire Writer's Weekly has a summary of events posted.