Amazon attempting to squeeze POD industry

In a move that frankly surprises me, Amazon is slowly pulling the plug on the Print On Demand (POD) publishing world by forcing such publishers to have their books printed exclusively by BookSurge, its own printing division. Amazon is informing POD publishers that their “buy” buttons — that which enables people to buy books through Amazon — are being turned off, and reports are flooding behind-the-scenes blogs that this is exactly what’s happening.

I know this, because I’ve just published a POD book through Lightning Source, the same company I used to publish my three Palmer’s Meadow novels. It’s unclear if people will be able to buy the book via Amazon, if we don’t switch our printing from Lightning Source to BookSurge. Lightning Source has had a long relationship with Amazon, even shipping books in Amazon boxes with Amazon’s return address on them.

Many of the people leaving comments on various blogs are shocked by this and question whether top management at Amazon even is aware of what’s happening, because it is so contrary to past business practices of the company.

This is nothing less than extortion, it seems to me, and in addition to the coming public relations backlash, Amazon may be in for legal troubles on this as well. Thousands of small, independent publishers make a living off technology that allows books to be printed one-at-a-time, and Lightning Source has long been considered the leader. A division of Ingram, one of the largest book printers in the world, Lightning Source has a reputation for competitive pricing and extremely high quality. According to what I’m reading in these blogs, the same cannot be said for BookSurge.

There has been no official word from Amazon so far, fueling speculation and raising eyebrows throughout the POD industry.

Stay tuned.

Wall St. Journal report
Writers Weekly
Writers Beware


  1. […] A growing number of authors have chosen to self-publish via print-on-demand companies such as iUniverse. An important part of their profit plan is distribution through Amazon. Now, however, Amazon has decreed that it will no long act as the middleman between POD ‑published authors and the public. Any POD author wishing to have his/her book on Amazon must have the book printed via Amazon’s BookSurge POD service. […]

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