Amazon: we want our cake and eat it too

A lengthy discussion on SlashDot highlights a new tactic by Amazon. The book distribution giant is trying to muscle out other print on demand services by forcing authors who use print on demand to use Amazon's print on demand (POD) service or else--the "else" being Amazon won't list their book.

Amazon has every right to do this, but it will be interesting to see if this works in their benefit or not. It would appear that with this new approach, Amazon wants to be both book distributor and book publisher. The two are not necessarily compatible, and it is not clear to me that this heavy-handed tactic will work.

Authors who use POD are either "vanity" authors without any identifiable audience or have some valuable information with an identified niche audience. In both cases, marketing will be up to the author; Amazon is not going to be able to add any value here, so the author can just as easily use some other POD service. In the end, book buyers who have made a buying decision by landing on the author's Web site or through some other route are going to click on a link to make the purchase. Most buyers won't care if the link goes to Amazon or to some other POD service.

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