...but then I decided it would be better to put this in a new one.
If this whole Amazon situation pisses you off (and it should, even if you don't use a POD printer and never plan to, because this is just more of the corporate strong-arm tactics our current administration seems to encourage and which have helped this country along its seemingly unending downward spiral), there's a petition
you can sign to express your disapproval. They ask for a donation, but it's not mandatory. (I didn't donate, simply because I hate PayPal almost as much as I hate Amazon right now, and that's the only option you have for making a donation.)
The good thing is that this story is tearing across the internet like a Santa Ana-driven California brushfire, and Amazon is looking worse by the minute. Here's hoping the public outcry helps them to backpedal on this particular "business" decision.
Amazon actually put out a press release in an attempt to clarify matters. They say it's purely to help out the customers -- that by producing all their POD titles in-house they would be able to ship things more quickly (and supposedly satisfy their Amazon Prime two-day shipping requirement). As Angela Hoy at writersweekly.com writes, this is actually a load of bull:
"They rationalize they can ship books faster. Our printer, Lightning Source, ships books to Amazon's customers directly, even using an Amazon.com return address sticker. They rationalize they can ship items together to save money, and that doing this saves transportation costs and fuel. What they don't tell you is that forcing a publisher to pay Amazon to print their book, plus setup fees for new books, plus 48% of each sale could and probably will mean higher list prices on books and, thus, less money in the customers' pockets, less money in the publishers' and authors' pockets...but more money in Amazon's pocket.
Furthermore, Amazon has, according to Wikipedia, 10 distribution centers in North America alone; and 14 more abroad. Are they currently printing print-on-demand books in each of those centers? I don't think so. So their "save money/time by packaging POD books with other products" rationale appears to have a few glaring holes in it.
If Amazon can't currently print POD books at all its distribution warehouses, why are they telling POD publishers to sign that contract NOW?
Notice they left out the setup fees ($50 for new titles), the printing costs, and the 48% they want from each sale. In fact, there's no mention of fees at all in the statement. They also don't mention that the average publishing package for authors at Booksurge is over $1,000.
Also, regarding the Advantage Program, they left out the fact that publishers/authors have to pay $29.95 per year, PLUS shipping costs to get the books to Amazon, PLUS 55% of each sale to Amazon. They don't seem too concerned with shipping and fuel expenses for this part of the statement, probably because the publisher has to pay for those.
Finally, they, of course, don't mention the past quality control problems experienced by Booksurge. If a customer gets a book with missing or upside down pages, who's going to get the blame? Not Amazon, that's for sure. The publisher will get the backlash for that."
So, yeah, nice try Amazon, but the spin cycle isn't working. Better get your people on that, stat.