Amazon BookSurge Information Clearinghouse

Amazon Backs Down; Settles Antitrust Lawsuit Filed By BookLocker


UPDATE: 08/26/2009: Federal Judge Denies Amazon’s Motion to Dismiss in Antitrust Lawsuit

UPDATE: 05/19/2008: BookLocker has filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon.

All the stories, blog posts, comments, and updates coming in from our original story about how Amazon is forcing publishers to use their BookSurge printing company are starting to get unwieldy. So we've created this page to help everyone keep track of what is going on. And help those who are new to the story get up to speed.

What is the story, you ask?

Reports had been trickling in from the POD underground that Amazon/BookSurge representatives have been approaching some Lightning Source customers, first by email introduction and then by phone (nobody at BookSurge seems to want to put anything in writing). When Lightning Source customers speak with the BookSurge representative, the reports say, they are basically told they can either have BookSurge start printing their books or the "buy" button on their book pages will be "turned off."

After we broke this story, the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly got Amazon to admit what they would only confess to in private before - that this is, in fact, now their strategy.

Here's the latest...

Breaking Developments:

Monday, May 19, 2008 - BookLocker has filed suit against Amazon.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - WritersWeekly issues call to authors/publishers to send their complaints about Amazon/Booksurge to the Federal Trade Commission. For information on how to do this, click HERE.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - The Washington State Attorney General has issued a statement claiming they are not planning further action against Amazon. They claim "it may be more appropriate to refer this matter to one of the federal antitrust agencies for review" and "anyone feeling that they have been harmed and wish to pursue a remedy should consider consulting with private counsel."

Tuesday, April 21, 2008 - PublishAmerica revealed in an email to its authors that they raised the prices on their own website a year ago under threat by Amazon: "Roughly a year ago Amazon forced PublishAmerica to raise the pricing of our own books on our own website. They would not allow us to sell our almost 30,000 titles at sales prices lower than what Amazon chose to charge, and they threatened us with the very same retaliation that followed a year later after all."

Thursday, April 17, 2008: Xlibris appears to still be hemming and hawing. They finally responded to Angela's email of March 25th, saying, "We apologize that we are unable to comment on the subject below as we are still standing by for the official communication from the higher management and our partners. As of this writing, it is still business as usual with" Is it just us or are all of the big POD publishers' statements starting to sound like broken records?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - The National Writers Union is also publicly condemning Amazon's actions. "The National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981 strongly opposes Amazon’s new restriction on the print-on demand market and calls upon Amazon to immediately withdraw this monopolistic intrusion, or face our call for investigations by the Justice Department and Congress."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008: Washington State Attorney General has issued a statement about the Amazon situation.

Monday, April 7, 2008: UK's Leading Writers Website calls for Amazon Boycott.

Saturday, April 5, 2008: WritersWeekly is processing numerous emails from angry authors who are asking why their publishers are not telling them the whole story about this situation. One author in particular received this note yesterday from iUniverse: "We are currently handling a high volume of incoming phone calls and e-mail messages. Your inquiry is important to us and we will respond to every message in the order in which it was received. Case #..."


Friday, April 4, 2008: Scott Flora, Executive Director of The Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), sent THIS LETTER to Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Board of Directors.

Friday, April 4, 2008 - YES? NO? MAYBE SO??? AuthorHouse issued a statement today that doesn't admit or deny they signed the Amazon contract. The statement ends with this line: "We will aggressively fight anything that is done to limit choice, increase cost, or weaken the industry that together we’ve worked so hard to build." However, we have a copy of an email sent by a manager at AuthorHouse on 4/1/08 that says, "AuthorHouse has been in negotiations with Amazon for some time and recently came to an agreement to allow BookSurge to print titles sold through Amazon." Authors deserve to know exactly what's going on, guys!

Friday, April 4, 2008, 6:12 PM - ASJA STERNLY DENOUNCES AMAZON'S STRONG-ARM TACTICS IN PRESS RELEASE; states the company's current actions negate years of goodwill built up with writers.

Friday, April 4, 2008, 3:15 PM - The Authors Guild, the nation's largest society of published book authors, has issued a statement studying anti-trust/legal implication of "Amazon's bold move." Seeking any info. others have that might be helpful.

Friday, April 4, 2008, 2:34 PM - The ASJA just sent a letter to their members regarding this situation. You can read it HERE.

Friday, April 4, 2008, 12:30 PM - Angela just received a phone call from the American Society of Journalist and Authors (ASJA). They will be issuing an official statement shortly.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008, 1:09 PM - Amazon now threatening publishers who offer customer-direct discounts on their own website.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 7:15 PM - We have obtained a copy of the canned email Xlibris is sending out, which pretty much says nothing at all but does imply they have not signed the Amazon contract. Yea, Xlibris.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 6:58 PM - Angela just checked the listing on Amazon for the BookSurge printed book she ordered (see new article for details). It is now "out of stock". Gosh, now what does that mean about their "print and bind a book in less than two hours" statement? Shouldn't their POD books never be out of stock?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 5:00 PM - Angela's NEW ARTICLE just posted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008, 7:10 PM - Lightning Source has just issued a statement regarding this matter. You can view a copy HERE.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008, 2:42 PM - AuthorHouse/iUniverse caved in. They signed the Amazon contract.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008, 10:34 AM - According to a statement posted to a Lulu forum by a Lulu employee, it looks like Lulu signed the Amazon contract.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 9:15 PM - A reader has alerted us that the PublishAmerica and Whiskey Creek Press "buy" buttons have not been turned off at the site, perhaps because the anti-trust laws are more stringent in the U.K.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 7:53 PM - Ex-Amazon Catalog Developer, Glenn Fleishman, takes a red pencil to the statement Amazon issued today. See his comment under THIS ARTICLE.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 5:10 PM - Angela Hoy tried to reach Bob Young at Lulu this morning. His secretary said he would call at 4:00 PM. She called Angela after 4:00, and said he wasn't available, but agreed to put her through to Gale Jordan, Lulu's Director of Public Relations. Gale Jordan said she would try to have the Vice President contact her. She called back a few minutes later to say he was not available (that he was on a plane). She then basically said they wouldn't be able to give us a statement before Angela's deadline. She asked if anyone could talk to her tomorrow morning. Jordan said no, that they were all out of town at a remote location. Angela asked if they really couldn't talk to her or if Lulu just didn't want to comment. Jordan said, "A little of both. We're just not going to comment."

Angela left a message on John Feldcamp's (Xlibris) voicemail today. He has not returned her call.

Angela left a message on Kevin Weiss's (AuthorHouse/iUniverse) assistant's voicemail today. He has not yet returned her call.

An AuthorHouse author contacted Angela today and said he was told by his AuthorHouse representative that AuthorHouse was in "intensive negotiations with Amazon." I can't, of course, confirm that is true, but the silence from these big three POD publishers speaks volumes.

Monday, March 31, 2008, 4:10 PM - has released an official statement about their actions HERE.

It basically just rehashes what you already know, but puts a pretty spin on things from their end.

They rationalize they can ship books faster. Our printer, Lightning Source, ships books to Amazon's customers directly, even using an 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.

What do you think about Amazon's official statement, readers?

Monday, March 31, 2008 - We have heard from more than one source that tomorrow, April 1, 2008, is the deadline that some POD publishers to sign the contract with Amazon/Booksurge, or risk having their buy buttons removed from

ATTN: AuthorHouse/iUniverse, Xlibris and Lulu - DO NOT CAVE IN!!! Join the proud and strong POD publishers who have refused to be bullied into paying Amazon to print their books! If you submit to this horrible action, you may hurt yourselves and your authors, and do a grave injustice to the entire industry!

Sunday, March 30, 2008: Somebody started an online petition to combat Amazon's actions here. Please sign it online to show your support. (Note: Donations are NOT required by that site to sign the petition.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008 - Whiskey Creek Press is a traditional publisher that uses POD technology. We were alerted by one of their authors that they appear to be the latest Amazon/BookSurge "buy" button victim. We checked and it appears numerous Whiskey Creek Press print books are now only available through resellers. The Kindle versions are, of course, still for sale directly through Amazon.

Friday, March 28, 2008 - As of Thursday, the "buy" buttons for the vast majority of PublishAmerica books were removed from The books can now only be purchased by resellers.

PublishAmerica issued a press release today that states, "PublishAmerica will not comply with Amazon's ultimatum, and will not allow that company to dictate who will print PublishAmerica's books, and at what conditions."

New Articles:

(last updated: 05/14 at 6:20 AM Eastern)

Amazon Demands BookSurge by Garrett Edward Godwin

article count - 184 [jump to list]
discussion count - 24 [jump to list]


Follow-up stories from WritersWeekly:

Was the Washington State Attorney General's Office Bamboozled? It's Time to Submit Your Amazon/Booksurge Complaints to the Feds!

Amazon/Booksurge Ultimatum Update

Amazon/Booksurge Ultimatum: Who's Going to Make the Next Move?

It's Getting HOT IN HERE! Amazon Under Fire in the U.S. and Abroad

IT'S NOT OVER! Amazon Tells Publishers, Pay Us To Print Your Books...Or Else

The story that started it Telling POD Publishers - Let BookSurge Print Your Books, or Else...

Comments sent to us:
page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4

Stop the BookSurge Monopoly

Voice your feelings to the Washington State Attorney General:(courtesy of
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Blogs dedicated to the Amazon / BookSurge controversy:

United Against Bullies
Amazon Troop (Book) Surge

Articles, posts, and discussions from around the web:

If you know of other sites or groups not mentioned here, email the link to

A New Amazon Mandate? Say it ain’t so, Jeff by Morris Rosenthal

Amazon Forcing POD Publishers to Make a Hard Decision, Virtualbookworm

Amazon Tightens Grip on Printing by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal

Amazon Tightens Noose on Print-On-Demand Publishers; Insists They Use Company’s Own Service by Rafat Ali, The Washington Post

Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly

Amazon Explains POD Move; Ingram Raises Questions by Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly

Amazon changes rules for print-on-demand publishers by Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld

Amazon pulls a Microsoft by Robert L. Mitchell, Computerworld Blogs

Amazon Puts the Squeeze on Publishers by Betsy Schiffman, Wired Blog Network Print Through Us...Or Else by Mark Jeffrey, The Huffington Post

Amazon Gets Demanding with Print-on-Demand Publishers, O'Reilly Radar puts the screws to small publishers, Valleywag

Amazon Insists Publishers Use Their On-Demand Printer, Slashdot

Amazon Declares War on Lightning Source by Aaron Shepard

Is Amazon Publishing Ready For Prime Time? by Morris Rosenthal

Amazon's Book Surge Gambit Changes the Digital Landscape by Lloyd Jassin

Let Me Be The First To Welcome Our New E Publishing Overlords, Galleycat

Amazon: Friend or Foe?, Publisher's Weekly

UK's largest writing website calls for May 1st Amazon boycott

Self Publishers Place says, "SCREW AMAZON!"

My book is NOT "out of print:" More about the Amazon monopoly imbroglio by Ian Johnson

Shortening The Long Tail, Blue Penciling

Backlash forms against Amazon, the Inquirer

New publishing policy at Amazon angers authors by Andrea James, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

POD enraged by Amazon move as writers’ site calls for boycott by
William Mitting and Simon Nias, PrintWeek

Amazon Policy Concerns Many
In Publishing Industry
, Authorlink

Boycott! Amazon insurgency spreads to UK, ComputerWorld Cutting off your nose to spite your face..., Garwulf's Corner

Amazon Bullying Small Publishers, Out of my Mind Blog

Amazon's publishing policy draws criticism, UPI

Amazon policy change threatens small publishers by Renee A. James

Rumors Confirmed:'s New Policy Regarding Print-On-Demand Books by Sabne Raznik

Amazon, Nashville and National Poetry Month, Newscoma

Amazon & POD (Provoke On Demand), poetry hut blog

Poetry book publishing takes a hit, Rocket Kids

Amazon and the Airlines, Matilija Press

Writers Beware! by Heather Vallance

Amazon takes over as publisher AND provider by requiring POD titles to publish through subsidiary Booksurge, The US Report

Amazon, BookSurge and the Future of POD, The Golden Pencil

Direct Sales: British Pubishers and Amazon Throw Elbows, E-Reads

Vertical Integration, Views From The Eagle's Peak

Amazon faces anti p.o.d. surge,

Dead tree net neutrality by Bart Preecs

The Amazon POD Conundrum by John Kremer Writes the Book on Corporate Greed by Candace Talmadge

ASJA, PMA and Authors Guild Push for Anti-trust Suit Against Amazon/BookSurge, galleycat

Writers, Publishers Protest New Policy by Nina M. Lentini

Authors Guild Looking at Antitrust Issue of Amazon’s POD Plan, Publishers Weekly

Amazon monopolizes the small publishing industry, Words from the Aether

Bullying: The New Way to do Business on the Web by S. Joaquin Rivera

Nile Books Tells Publishers ‘We’re Only Game in Town’, Morning Satirical News

Amazon/BookSurge's coup de main on POD publishers by Eugie Foster

The Book Publishing Wars... Amazon/Booksurge vs Everyone Else, Wing Tang Wong

The Advance of the POD People by Sgt. Mom, a Publisher of Racist Bilge? by Warner Todd Huston, NewsBusters

The Protocols of the Elders of Amazon by Yuval Levin, Commentary

Amazon Continues to Squeeze Authors and Small Publishers with BookSurge Ultimatum by Shireen Jeejeebhoy

Amazon's Smiling Logo is a Sneer, and Jeff Bezos is Looking Like Snidely Whiplash by Peg Silloway, The PegBoard

Amazon furious after publishers undercut its book prices online by Dalya Alberge, Times Online

PMA on Amazon's POD Policy, BPNW News Blog

Amazon controversy heats up by Robert L. Mitchell, Computerworld Blog

There’s Something About Amazon by S. Joaquin Rivera, The Broken Forum


Round Two of the Great Amazon Imbroglio by Sgt. Mom

Amazon's Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Idea by Rachel Starr Thomson

The Nine Gazillion Pound Gorilla Bares its Fangs by Richard Curtis, E-Reads

Direct Sales: Publishing’s Last Stand by Richard Curtis, E-Reads

What Is Amazon Up To?, Beneath the Cover

Okay Amazon… by Tammy Cardwell

AuthorHouse & IUniverse Jump Ship to Booksurge by Mick Rooney

Odds, ends, good news, bad news, and the longest title in the short history of this blog,

Round Two of the Great Amazon Imbroglio, The Daily Brief

Amazon’s Blatant Disrespect of Their Best Customers, Beyond Niche Marketing

Amazon analysis? Who wins in this??? by Diama Castilleja

Amazon/Booksurge - Xlibris Update by Mick Rooney

Amazon May be on Receiving End of Internet Justice by Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends

The Essential Marketing Secrets that Amazon Forgot, Attraction

So you want to be a novelist by Tom Barlow

PMA Calls for Amazon to Reconsider POD Stance, Publishers Weekly

Amazon Trying to Capture Total Print on Demand Market, Ajourneywelltaken's Weblog

More On the Amazon Mess, Doubtful Muse

Amazon bullying raises monopoly and business concerns,

PMA, The Independent Book Publishers Association Speaks Out Against Amazon, Doubtful Muse

Don't buy your books from Amazon, Figure Skating Blog

Self-Publishing World in an Uproar! POD Publishers Held Hostage by Amazon/BookSurge!, Write Nonfiction in November

Crystal Balls Or No Balls At All...the Future Of Publishing?,

Amazon In-House Print-on-Demand Policy Irks Small Publishers by Mark Hefflinger, Digital Media Wire

Some Say Amazon's Bully Tactics Against Publishers May Violate Anti-Trust, Authorlink

Amazon and Print on Demand - the struggle continues, Just Write A Book Blog

Does Amazon's Shipping News Hold Water?, Mediabistro

Amazon FYI--Pepper, Erotic Romance

Amazon tightens its grip - now dictating to publishers re their own prices !, Podding Along Nicely

King Kong of book sales makes a grab…, 2 Texans Down Under

Monopoly game, Amazon edition

Espresso Printing Press Heating Up by Lorina Stephens

A statement from Ingram and Lightning Source by June Austin

Ingram Book Group Respond to Amazon POD strategy by Mick Rooney

Amazon bullying raises monopoly and business concerns, Timothy Sykes, BloggingStocks

'No plans' for Amazon UK p.o.d. by Graeme Neill,

Amazon steers publishers to its print-on-demand facilities by Chantal Todé, DMNews

questions I’d like to hear Amazon / Booksurge answer, The Nimble Books Blog

Amazon v. Lightning Source by Mark Levine

Still No Word From on What They Plan To Do by Adam Dewitz, Print CEO Blog

Now Amazon wants to eliminate the printer, American Printer

Amazon Strongarms Small Publishers by Greg Taylor, Publish Yourself

Amazon responds to print on demand (POD) changes by Mark Riffey

Amazon’s Official Statement, The Lulu Book Review

Is Amazon Seeking to Dominate Small Presses? by The Wandering Author

Amazon’s Arrogance, Author Marketing Experts

Amazon’s POD monopoly,

Is Amazon Getting Greedy? , open...

Oh, REAL nice,, Beatlegirl's Blog

Market Report -- In Play,MSN Money

Amazon Muscles Print-On-Demand Services by Duncan Riley, TechCrunch

Amazon & BookSurge, words count

Urgent News for Authors, The Holistic Writer

Monopoly - It’s Not A Game by Jean-Marie Hershey, Print CEO Blog

Of oil lamps, Print on Demand, and e-book machines: Amazon’s Bezos as a would-be Rockefeller by David Rothman

Deal Breaker? Amazon - BookSurge - POD - No Choice?, Workboxers's POD land grab, Journal

Amazon Changes POD Tactics, Removes Velvet Gloves by Kassia Krozser, Booksquare

Amazon The Monopoly, PersonaNonData

Amazon Muscles Print-On-Demand Services,

Use BookSurge or Die? by Victoria Strauss, Writer Beware

Amazon/Golliath takes on the little guys by Helen Gallagher, Release Your Writing

Amazon Bullies POD to Use Booksurge -- or Else., Shadowhelm's Journal

Amazon Says It Will Only Sell Print-On-Demand Books That It Gets To Print, Techdirt

Amazon deletes competition, LibraryThing

What's Amazon Up To Now? by Tawny Taylor

Amazon Shaking the POD World Big Time, Juno Books

A hearty "F$%k you!" to Amazon by Elf M. Sternberg

A Call to Bloggers: Stop Supporting Amazon, Inhabitatio Dei

Amazon to Force POD Publishers to Use BookSurge, Media Mensch

Self Publishers and Amazon, Writerly Stuff

Amazon Tightens Grip On Printing,

Amazon to Block Other POD Services from Using Amazon Marketplace, Dear Author

Amazon trying to screw small presses?, lupabitch

Dear Amazon, What are You Thinking? by Monica Valentinelli, Words on the Water

Will Amazon Hurt Small Pagan Publishers?, The Wild Hund

Amazon and us by Gill Polack

Will Amazon Become the Google of the POD Industry? by Deborah Woehr

Down with The Zon! by Celia Kyle

Beyond the POD grab: The IDPF should fight Amazon’s new eBabel, look for anti-trust violations, and reach out to Google by David Rothman, TeleRead

Amazon blocking books of competitive publishers?, electronista

We are not amused--veinglory, PODPeople

Bully on the block?, The Pearlsong Letter

The monopolists: You need to worry about Amazon too by Eion Purcell

Amazon owns the marketplace: return of the distributor, Thudfactor

Is Amazon trying to monopolize the empowering Publish-On-Demand market?, Chris Boese's Weblog

500 pound gorilla, Idle musings of a bookseller

Bye-Bye "Buy Buttons" for POD Authors?, The Backroom at

Amazon Making a Big Mistake by Cheryl Pickett

Amazon to force POD publishers to use Booksurge, Murder by 4’s dirty little deed, pds_lit

Amazon’s Stupid Anti-Competitive Move, Principled Profit

Amazon Bullying POD Writers and Publishers Unfairly, A-ha

A Call to Bloggers: Stop Supporting Amazon, Resurrection Life Is On Drugs, Thought Patterns

Amazon launches their weapon of mass destruction, steps on the long tail of independent authors by Mark Riffey

POD Publishers Told to Sell Directly Through Amazon, They Have to Use Booksurge, PublishersLunch

Maybe Amazon's problem is obvious?, The Snoozeletter

No longer an Amazon customer, The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Are They Nuts? by Heather S. Ingemar

Amazon not playing fair, Synthstuff

Amazon attempting to squeeze POD industry, Terry Heaton's PoMo Blog Takes On Digital Book Printers, Graphic Arts Online

Boycott Amazon!, PlainTalk Hates Small Press? by JM, Fiction Scribe

Telling the 900-pound Gorilla Where not to Sit, Quaker Pagan Reflections

Amazon puts the Squeeze on POD Publishers by Easy Author Web Sites

Amazonian bullying, Satima's Blogspot

Amazon May be on Receiving End of Internet Justice, Small Business Trends

Amazon Situation Continues and Lesson #1, The Publishing Answers Blog

Amazon Chaos by Marshall S. Thomas

That Amazon decision, PETRONA

Amazon squeezes on-demand publishers, ITWire

Backlash Over Amazon Monopoly Tactics by Deborah Woehr

An Important Lesson from Amazon on How NOT to Treat Your Customers, Virtual Impax

The Eight Hundred Pound Gorilla by Celia Hayes

Amazon squeezes POD by Nick Farrell

POD Publishers Outraged by Amazon's New Restrictions, Law Librarian Blog

Et tu, Amazon? by Todd Keisling

Amazon smacks little people with BookSurge By Cade Metz, The Register

Will Amazon destroy the Indy-Publishing Industry? by Charles Sheehan-Miles

Amazon Pushes POD Up a Creek, The Lulu Book Review


just added -

The Latest News - Amazon/BookSurge Monopoly

previous -

POD Publishers (membership required to read posts)

Self-Publishing on Yahoo

Lulu Forums

Readers Station

Thriller Forum



Permuted Press

Amazon Forum

Absolute Write

Google Groups, eBook Community

Book Marketing Network

Amazon to force POD/small publishers to use A's own "toaster"


Amazon/BookSurge Contract Changes


amazon shorts forum

If you know of other sites or groups not mentioned here, email the link to



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