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Blame Amazon

I have to apologise for not assembling the Tuesday Blogscan today, and also for missing the annual Daily Grail April Fool’s gag for the first time in a long while. My excuse is a serious one – sorting through a huge controversy which has erupted with Amazon trying to take control of the print on demand industry (something which could impact me considerably). You can read about it in full detail on my Publish Yourself website, but in short this is the deal:

Bookselling giant Amazon is using strong-arm tactics in an attempt to take control of the fast-growing Print on Demand publishing industry, pursuing a new, hardline policy for publishers: if you want a print-on-demand book to be stocked on Amazon.com, you need to leave your current printer and sign up with the Amazon-owned printer Booksurge. Publishers have received phone calls from Booksurge with “an offer you can’t refuse” – convert to the Amazon-owned company, or the ‘Buy’ button will be removed from your books’ Amazon pages.

The enabling facets of Print on Demand technology make us all potential publishers. As such, we should *all* be concerned about Amazon’s attempt to monopolise the industry at this early stage of its development.”

How is this relevant to readers of The Daily Grail? Put quite simply, the continuation of TDG depends on the success of my self-publishing projects such as Darklore – otherwise I can no longer justify the time and money required to keep the site running. Amazon have just thrown a fair sized spanner into those plans – thankfully, I have not been directly affected yet, but it might be just a matter of time…

(To be absolutely clear, there is no April Fool’s joke hidden within this story. You can revisit old AFD stories here: 2005, 2006, and 2007)

Editor
  1. Absolutely disgusting
    Hopefully Amazon will be taken to court, ala Microsoft with its monopolisation of web browsers with IE and Windows. What an absolutely despicable move by Amazon. I’d write more about my disgust, and rant and rave, but I need to think positive thoughts to write an application for a very important and secret job (no, it’s not for Amazon).

    Just as the real Amazon rainforest continues to be destroyed, it’s ironic to see the Amazon company doing the destroying, treating innovative and self-motivated writers and publishers like multinationals treat rainforest. It’s despicable.

    1. What did we expect?
      This is terrible news, but nothing more than I’d have expected. Just another example of Big Biz doing what it does.
      In the UK, small publishers with good ideas in cheap books and regional papers have been driven out by bigger companies producing near identical products, and running them at a loss until the smaller one goes bust.
      It won’t change until people realise just how dictatorial, and freedom destroying Biz Biz is. And move away from them by the millions.

      I’m fanatical about moderation

      Anthony North

    2. yes Rick
      I think taking them to court would have good chances of success. This looks more blatant than what Microsoft has done, a more direct way of enforcing a near-monopoly.

      I am sure that some lawyers would love this case.

      —-
      if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

  2. diet books
    Amazon is a haven of diet books, spiritual awakening books, how to make money books, with the occasional novel or biography thrown in. To find the good stuff you already need to have heard about it somewhere else. Seems to me then that somewhere else could be selling directly.

    Is it really such a loss to move on and sell somewhere else? Collaborating with other sites such as TDG, and looking for investment from people interested in what TDG and other sites like it have to offer, might lead to an opportunity to provide something better than Amazon. A specialist site for more interesting areas of literature.

    Forget Amazon, let it monopolise customers that eat too much chocolate.

    1. and the rest
      Amazon sells DVDs music, cell phones, you name it. Seems like they are basically a front for the shipping companies. They have little to do with books these days.

      Their strength is that, when you order something, you actually get it when they say you will get it.

      If you want books, there are online book stores, they ship it to you. Do they support the print-on-demand stuff ?

      —-
      if everything is under control, you are not going fast enough (Mario Andretti)

      1. Books
        [quote=earthling]Amazon sells DVDs music, cell phones, you name it. Seems like they are basically a front for the shipping companies. They have little to do with books these days.[/quote]

        Hi Earthling,

        Actually, books are still Amazon’s core product (as evidenced by this strategic move towards vertical integration), and they account for probably 90% of sales of Print on Demand books.

        Kind regards,
        Greg
        ——————————————-
        You monkeys only think you’re running things

    2. Reliance on Amazon
      [quote=Jameske]Is it really such a loss to move on and sell somewhere else? Collaborating with other sites such as TDG, and looking for investment from people interested in what TDG and other sites like it have to offer, might lead to an opportunity to provide something better than Amazon. A specialist site for more interesting areas of literature.
      [/quote]

      At this stage, yes it is a loss. As I’ve mentioned previously, eventually the aim is to get Darklore to a stage where we can do it via subscription and in-house fulfilment. At the moment though, we rely on online booksellers to do this. And Amazon are the kings of that.

      Perhaps my Darklore subscription plans are now on fast-track though…
      πŸ˜‰

      Kind regards,
      Greg
      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

  3. Boycott
    I’ll gladly shop elsewhere. Barnes & Nobles site (bn.com) is a much, much better user experience. And for those of you in the UK, Powells.com is the e-storefront for Powell’s, one of the greatest independent bookstores on the planet, based in Portland, Oregon. Worth checking out.

    I’ll be switching. F&%k you, Amazon.

    1. Boycotts
      [quote=pacificwhim]I’ll be switching. F&%k you, Amazon. [/quote]

      As I’ve said, this is still early days, and Amazon may be forced into a change. To be honest, Amazon has in many ways been good for TDG – we have earned money through the Amazon Associates program, and also they allowed me to begin the print-on-demand projects. It is just this latest move that is causing the grief.

      Kind regards,
      Greg
      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

  4. Bastards!
    Hopefully the general outrage will create enough controversy that they will be forced to reconsider.

    —–
    It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
    It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

    Red Pill Junkie

  5. alternatives
    i agree with above comment that this could be a chance to explore alternatives. id bet there are enough tdg supporters to make it work, even as a last resort a pay / subscription site in some form or other -for all its woes- could generate enough revenue…? (awaits skeptical murmer)
    either way im sure it wont kill tdg!

    1. We will survive!
      I’m sure that we will find a way to keep TDG afloat. What I suppose worries Greg the more is how to mantain the good start Darklore achieved.

      I’m keeping optimist though, the Internet is a BIG place, and Amazon is not the only store where you can buy books.

      —–
      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

  6. How is this relevant to

    How is this relevant to readers of The Daily Grail? Put quite simply, the continuation of TDG depends on the success of my self-publishing projects such as Darklore – otherwise I can no longer justify the time and money required to keep the site running.

    TDG is a unique and valuable resource that I would gladly donate towards. I’d be very surprised if, in all the years of operation, there weren’t amassed enough loyal readers to sustain the site.

    1. Not so amassed
      [quote=Haufoldos]

      How is this relevant to readers of The Daily Grail? Put quite simply, the continuation of TDG depends on the success of my self-publishing projects such as Darklore – otherwise I can no longer justify the time and money required to keep the site running.

      TDG is a unique and valuable resource that I would gladly donate towards. I’d be very surprised if, in all the years of operation, there weren’t amassed enough loyal readers to sustain the site.[/quote]

      The site is unsustainable, it’s just where I set the point at which I cut my losses.

      Though we average between 10-20,000 readers per day, experience has shown that there is a core group of only about 2-400 people who are interested/concerned about the wellbeing of the site. I don’t think that’s anything strange, it seems to be the norm of Internet culture – information sources are disposable, as another will always rise in its place.

      The perverse irony is that people will spend close to $1 for a daily newspaper – if every reader on TDG paid $1 for a whole year of news, the site would earn me a living. But there’s no chance of that happening.

      Kind regards,
      Greg

      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

        1. Donations
          Hi Daniel,

          There currently isn’t a button on the site – I shifted it to the Sub Rosa website (http://subrosa.dailygrail.com) a while back (because I felt that way, people got a PDF magazine for their donation…something ‘real’ as it were for their support). We haven’t done an issue in a while though, so perhaps I should shift it back!
          πŸ˜‰

          Kind regards,
          Greg
          ——————————————-
          You monkeys only think you’re running things

      1. I’d be very surprised if
        I’d be very surprised if there were not enough of us to at least pay the operating budget. It couldn’t hurt to find out, in any case.

      2. $1?
        ‘Though we average between 10-20,000 readers per day, experience has shown that there is a core group of only about 2-400 people who are interested/concerned about the wellbeing of the site…
        if every reader on TDG paid $1 for a whole year of news, the site would earn me a living. But there’s no chance of that happening.’

        i think you underestimate the readership greg, if the $1 estimate were true then why dont you charge, say, $5 per person for a year (assuming only a 5th of people will pay) and offer a slightly extended service. (a membership acc with free sub rosa for ex, with the option to donate. or email bullitens, or uptodate news {nonmembers get old news-new scientist style} etc etc) it would only be a bit of extra work. is it do-able?

        it could be an opportunity not only seek alternatives to amazon but to develop the site, the whole adapt or die thing… or am i being presumptuous? πŸ™‚

        i just think such a small payment is definitely possible ,and if it makes all the difference it might be worth a go…

        LVX

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