Monday, April 14, 2008

amazon says

Don't let amazon's PR talk fool you. The ONLY reason they're doing this is to squeeze out a
higher % from publishers. That's not my opinion. I belong to publisher's groups,
and we all realize this. Hence, I'll start changing our order links to


Dear Ben Ohmart,

My name is Adam Bader of's Executive Customer Relations.
Jeff Bezos received your e-mail and asked that I respond on his behalf.

Given your interest in Amazon Print On Demand, I want to make sure
that you had an opportunity to read a letter we published about what
we're changing and why.

The full text of the letter is posted on our website here:

One question that we've seen is a simple one. Is Amazon requiring that
print-on-demand books be printed inside Amazon's own fulfillment
centers, and if so why?

Yes. Modern POD printing machines can print and bind a book in less
than two hours. If the POD printing machines reside inside our own
fulfillment centers, we can more quickly ship the POD book to
customers -- including in those cases where the POD book needs to be
married together with another item. If a customer orders a POD item
together with an item that we're holding in inventory -- a common case
-- we can quickly print and bind the POD item, pick the inventoried
item, and ship the two together in one box, and we can do so quickly.
If the POD item were to be printed at a third party, we'd have to wait
for it to be transhipped to our fulfillment center before it could be
married together with the inventoried item.

Speed of shipping is a key customer experience focus for us and it has
been for many years. Amazon Prime is an example of a successful and
growing program that is driving up our speed of shipment with
customers. POD items printed inside our own fulfillment centers can
make our Amazon Prime cutoff times. POD items printed outside cannot.

Simply put, we can provide a better, more timely customer experience
if the POD titles are printed inside our own fulfillment centers. In
addition, printing these titles in our own fulfillment centers saves
transportation costs and transportation fuel.

Another question we've seen: Do I need to switch completely to having
my POD titles printed at Amazon?

No, there is no request for exclusivity. Any publisher can use
Amazon's POD service just for those units that ship from Amazon and
continue to use a different POD service provider for distribution
through other channels.

Alternatively, you can use a different POD service provider for all
your units. In that case, we ask that you pre-produce a small number
of copies of each title (typically five copies), and send those to us
in advance (Amazon Advantage Program—successfully used by thousands
big and small publishers). We will inventory those copies. That small
cache of inventory allows us to provide the same rapid fulfillment
capability to our customers that we would have if we were printing the
titles ourselves on POD printing machines located inside our
fulfillment centers. Unlike POD, this alternative is not completely
"inventoryless." However, as a practical matter, five copies is a
small enough quantity that it is economically close to an
inventoryless model.

Might Amazon reconsider this new policy?

Only if we can find an even better way to serve our customers faster.
Over the years we've made many improvements to our service level for
consumers. Some of these changes have caused consternation at times,
but we have always stuck with the change when we believe it's good for
customers. An early example: many years ago we started offering
customer reviews on our website. This was a pioneering thing to do at
the time. The fact that we allowed *negative* customer reviews
confounded many publishers -- some were downright angry. One publisher
wrote to us asking if we understood our business: "You make money when
you sell things! Take down these negative reviews!"
Our point of view was that our job was to help customers make purchase
decisions. It made sense to us to stick with the customer- centric
position of embracing customer reviews, even negative ones.

Another example: a few years ago, we made the decision to offer used
books, and to make those used copies available directly alongside the
new editions. This caused significant consternation, but we stood by
the decision because we were convinced it was right for customers.
Sometimes a used book will do and it can sometimes be had at a
significant cost savings relative to a new book. We stuck with the
customer-friendly decision.

Our decision with POD is the same. Once a book is in digital format,
it can be quickly printed on modern POD printing equipment. It isn't
logical or efficient to print a POD book in a third place, and then
physically ship the book to our fulfillment centers. It makes more
sense to produce the books on site, saving transportation costs and
transportation fuel, and significantly speeding the shipment to our
customers and Amazon Prime members.

We hope this helps those who are interested understand what we're
working to do and why. We believe our customer-focused approach helps
the entire industry in the long term by selling more books.

Thank you again for your interest in Amazon Print on Demand.


Adam Bader
Executive Customer Relations

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ben Ohmart []
> Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 6:38 AM
> To: Bezos, Jeff
> Subject: Paul Frees
> I have written over 10 books, more coming, and have publishing
nearly 200 via my company, BearManor Media.
> I use Lightning Source almost exclusively because they Help the
small business owner. I was going to have all my titles linked via
amazon so that more people would order from you. But if you continue
with this amazing tactic of forcing us littler guys to use a different
printer, which could force us out of business, I'll be linking to
> Ben Ohmart

No comments: