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The Amazon Battle, Continued: An Interview With BookLocker's Angela Hoy

Jun 16, 2008
Amazon is a big piece to our success and as they continue to change their model, how we market and sell our books needs to change as well. It's no secret that Angela Hoy of BookLocker and WritersWeekly has been very vocal about the recent move on Amazon's part to get all their POD publishers to print books through BookSurge. You can see some of her past posts on this topic by clicking over to her WritersWeekly site.

Amidst the media firestorm Angela is in, she's taken some time to answer our questions related to this topic:

1) You just filed a lawsuit against Amazon. Why did you decide to do this?

We believe what they're doing violates anti-trust laws and puts us and other POD publishers and authors at risk. Somebody had to stand up and cry foul.

2) Can you discuss the nature of this lawsuit?

There is a link to a PDF file of the actual lawsuit here: http://antitrust.booklocker.com/.

3) Do you think you can win against this giant?

Yes, I absolutely do.

4) Many people have talked about Amazon being a monopoly, do you feel the same way and is there anything that can be done against this giant?

The only way to stop this type of action by a company that dominates the online book selling market is to take them to court. That's what they have forced us to do.

5) There's been some scuttle recently that Amazon might have aspirations on being a publisher. Do you think that will ever happen? What are the ramifications of this if it does happen?

Amazon already is a publisher. They not only became a publisher when they purchased BookSurge, but Amazon also admits in its 10-K filing with the SEC, that publishers are their competitors.

6) So many individual authors with their own imprints have been affected by this decision, many of them don't even realize the ramifications of this BookSurge push. What can one book author do to fight this giant?

What many authors don't realize is that some POD publishers may already be working with Amazon (the confidentiality clause in the Amazon/BookSurge contract appears to prevent them from disclosing the relationship) and that those authors' books may soon be printed by BookSurge without their knowledge. Authors who have researched BookSurge online may have grave concerns about the quality of BookSurge books that have the author's name printed on it.

I, personally, would never let BookSurge print a book with our name on it. We have a history with BookSurge that involved quality problems.

Just to check up on them, I purchased a book from Amazon/BookSurge last month and the quality was horrible. The back cover was off-center, some of the photos were so dark the people were completely unrecognizable (black shadows is the best way to describe it), there was a gross glue glob on the cover, and more.

7) What else can we do to fight this online giant?

Authors and POD publishers need to speak out about this situation now, and need to keep speaking out about it. Amazon may be hoping things will just simmer down and that people will forget all about this someday.

Unfortunately, when that someday arrives, some POD publishers and self-publishing authors may be out of business because of Amazon's actions today.

8) If Amazon is allowed to do this, what do you think will happen in the future? Will their next announcement be a roll-out of their publishing model?

They've already rolled out their publishing model and they've already taken action. The buy buttons for Publish America books (estimated at 30K titles) have already been turned off by Amazon.

9) What has surprised you most about this process?

It didn't take any forethought at all for us to decide to fight this. It's wrong and somebody has to do something about it. We expected some press in the writing and publishing industry publications and blogs. What we didn't expect was the overwhelming support we received on a global scale from authors, publishers and book buyers. People are furious with Amazon. I've done more interviews in the past six weeks than I've done cumulatively my entire life. In addition, we've received far more emails about this topic than about any other topic we've covered in the past 11 years in WritersWeekly.

Every voice counts and you CAN make a difference! Believe me. Amazon is reading what people are saying!
About the Author
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a book marketing and media relations expert whose company has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Visit AME.
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