Amazon’s Blatant Disrespect of Their Best Customers

How do you show your appreciation for your best customers? If you’re book selling giant, you show your “love” by doing your best impression of the Godfather and apply pressure to your suppliers who are also your customers to use your services or suffer the consequences.

Angela Hoy decided to speak out about the bullying on Writer’s Weekly with the article Telling POD Publishers – Let BookSurge Print Your Books, or Else…

Here’s the situation in a nutshell.

POD stands for Print On Demand. Thanks to advanced in “technology” a publisher no longer has to print 5,000 copies of a book and then wait for those copies to be sold. Instead, the books can be produced as they are needed… thus the term, “Print on Demand”.

Many publishers offer POD services and Amazon has their own POD service called Book Surge. Amazon has decided to increase Book Surge’s market share and is putting pressure on POD publishers by issuing the ultimatum: Use our service or we’ll turn off the buy links on Amazon.

Web 2.0 means this story is multiplying like… well, like a virus. That’s why they call it “viral” marketing except in this case, it’s more like anti-marketing because instead of building new business, this story is going to hurt the retail giant. When Angela blew the whistle, she set forth a series of events in which Amazon loses all around.

  • Amazon loses customers… authors who are boycotting the retailer.
  • Amazon loses links… links to their site by authors whose books MAY be remove.
  • Amazon loses the relationship with thousands of authors… who are not only their customers, but also suppliers of product.

It’s obvious that the long term consequences of this action have yet to dawn on the executives at Amazon. Angela reports that Amazon is avoiding putting these “threats” in writing… but the lack of a paper trail won’t save them from their own actions.

I’d like to do my part by listing the 60+ references to this story. Feel free to grab the list below and add it to your own blog. If you want to add your post to the “cause”… the post a comment to this post. If you’ve got your own blog, copy this list and post it on your blog as well. The more links to these posts… the more “traction” this cause will get.

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Cheryl Pickett - March 30, 2008

I just wanted to say that you’re doing a great service to at least at least a couple different audiences by posting the info about this story.

First, you’re helping those of us who are in the writing/publishing world get the story out even farther. Second, it’s a good lesson in what not to do for your marketing audience. I’ve worked for at least two people who let some power go to their head and things crashed down around them as could happen to Amazon (unfortunately, probably not to a huge extent but we’ll see).

Keep up the good work.

Cheryl Pickett

Victor Curran - March 30, 2008

There’s a strange deja vu in’s announcement that they won’t sell print-on-demand titles unless they are printed at BookSurge. Book publishers got out of the printing business decades ago, because book publishing is a seasonal business. Publishers couldn’t afford to tie up their capital in factories that for half the year were idle.
The value proposition of Amazon isn’t the merchandise. They sell convenience, the ease of shopping for books, music, movies, cameras, and golf clubs all in one place, and getting them delivered to your door quickly. They’re successful because they put their resources into the buyer experience. They let other people invest in factories, warehouses, and inventory.
Amazon might have saved itself a lot of trouble by reading Charlie Rheault’s fine little book, “In Retrospect: The Riverside Press 1852-1971″ (you can even buy it on Amazon). They might have learned to let go of assets that are so expensive you have to bully your customers and business partners into paying for them.

Victor Curran’s last blog post..Forward to the past with Amazon

Amma Zohn - June 21, 2008

“You cannot control evil but you can chose to not participate.”
“You gain customers one at a time but you lose them by the dozens.”
“Time wounds all heels”

The only way I can recover the financial losses that Amazon caused is to short their overpriced stock at the right time

Anthony Wilson - May 23, 2010

i think Book Marketing takes more effort compared to e-mail marketing and social media marketing.`.’

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