Those Amazon Rumors

Looks like it’s real. I confess, Olympia did get the Booksurge email, but I didn’t bother replying, ‘cuz, that would just not be in character. Couple disclaimers here:

  1. This does not surprise me. It’s also why the imprints for Black Mask and Olympia are in fact: blackmask.com and olympiapress.com. I don’t trust anybody. (Nobody goes to silk to buy anything other than a DVD, and while I do own Disruptivepublishing.com, I “use” dispub because you can at least type that one when drunk.)
  2. Amazon’s decision, assuming they go through with it, does present me with a business opportunity.

Anyway, if ya ain’t heard: PublishAmerica authors, who opt for a distribution package, will no longer have their books sold directly through Amazon. They’re getting kind of the Sony Reader treatment, where only “marketplace sellers” provide the books.

By most accounts, PA is the canary in the coal mine, as they compete directly with Amazon’s CreateSpace. But others are hearing the same thing, and some have already had the all-important “buy now” buttons taken away.  So far, the ones I’ve seen don’t have multiple marketplace sellers “carrying” their book, which raises red flags, but my search hasn’t been exhaustive.

The package offered by Booksurge, for me at least, really doesn’t work. Amazon was a key factor in my business twice: when customers got sick of my packaging/shipping delays for bootleg pulps, ordering through Amzn instead, and when Rudolph Spoerer gave Olympia such fantastic reviews.

Mr. Spoerer, sadly, died sometime last summer. There are no other top-500 reviewers of smut that I’m aware of. So, again, the hit from losing Amazon is serious, but, to me at least, not life-threatening (I certainly value Ingram’s Library Distribution a hell of a lot more.)

Also, I could integrate and automate myself as a seller on Amazon in like three days. If I wanted to. Which… I’ll see. I do traditional discounts and returns on everything ‘cept the hardcovers.

The corporate motivation is even wackier. I’m sure Amazon’s been talking to LSI about doing this for a while (LSI… got a lot nicer, and has been nicer still to bigger POD houses.) But at the end of the day, at least for publishers who give traditional discounts, (55% baby), does Amazon so want my printing business that they’ll instead take refuse to accept me, cut their sales down, and get maybe 5% from a seller?

And what about the books from me that Amazon stocks directly? They just gonna dump ‘em? I don’t think Booksurge is quite that big within the Amazon pantheon…. but I wouldn’t want to be a gutenberg reseller now, either.

Ingram, after all, fills the orders, no matter which seller takes it. Again, given my background, stupidity on any level doesn’t surprise me. But… seems unlikely at this point. Could still happen.

Now, kids, would be a good time to call your LSI rep, and ask what you need to be activated for EDI–that’s Electronic Data Interchange, so LSI fills your order for you, and you can ship it to your customer directly, and automatically, and well-packed and stuff (and you can be your own lead Amazon seller, if need be).

Here, by the way, is my own personal business opportunity.  As a long story notes, on my six-figure URLs would make a great place to sell books of certain genres.  The place.  And for the record, I know enough about outsourcing, EDI, Lulu, Dorchester/Kensington, Perseus if they ever get their reps in order, to build such a retailer at low cost (nearly automated, dealing with shorter discounts, paying three or four people, MAX, etc.).

It’s not that much of a pressing concern, but from the moment I finally got control of the URL back (about four months after work started on Munsey’s), I’ve toyed with what to do with those Mencken-eqsue letters.

I obviously don’t feel much obligation to the pulp publishing community at large.  They haven’t exactly had my back.  But, it could be done, and I’ve been hoarding cash for a while.

Or, maybe I’ll just give more free lectures on how to use EDI…. anyone else wants to do a genre-specific retailer, speak up.  Now.  (Also could be an ebook storefront, but… why bother?)

About dmoynihan

Me here.
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