The latest from Publishers Weekly on the Amazon Booksurge push for full control. See the full article at this link
"Along with discussions of hot books and high prices at this month’s London Book Fair, another major topic of conversation in the aisles was Amazon. The immediate flashpoint was the e-tailer’s new policy of making publishers who use print-on-demand go through its BookSurge subsidiary if they don’t want to risk having Amazon deactivate the buy button on their titles.
"While Amazon has so far been concentrating on implementing the policy primarily with online publishers such as AuthorHouse (which just agreed to use BookSurge), Amazon has said it wants all publishers, including traditional publishers, to use BookSurge for POD. The head of one of the major houses called the demand “outrageous,” but declined to say if this publisher had plans to use BookSurge." - Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly
Update April 29, 2008 - If you visit Amazon on this date April 29, 2008, you will see an open letter from Amazon and a link to their letter to shareholders, which they said they don't normally do. It is about their Kindle product, but a look into the direction they want to go. Here is a bit:
"We started by setting ourselves the admittedly audacious goal of improving upon the physical book. We did not choose that goal lightly. Anything that has persisted in roughly the same form and resisted change for 500 years is unlikely to be improved easily.
At the beginning of our design process, we identified what we believe is the book’s most important feature. It disappears. When you read a book, you don’t notice the paper and the ink and the glue and the stitching. All of that dissolves, and what remains is the author’s world.
We knew Kindle would have to get out of the way, just like a physical book, so readers could become engrossed in the words and forget they’re reading on a device."
(This is only a 'bite' so go to Amazon today to read the whole letter. I guess I'm 'old fashion' but I prefer a nicely produced book on the shelve, like I still enjoy album covers. We lost LP record covers, could printed books we next on the 'endangered' list. And I haven't notice any of my favorite books disappearing.)
Follow-up - May 5, 2008 - The death of the mom and pa bookstores continue as one of our last local shops will be closing soon, after 35 years in business. Their comments on the closing:
"Amazon is taking the biggest bite out of us, and Wal-Mart and Costco and Barnes & Noble," she said. "Every grocery store sells books."
"When Barnes & Noble came to town, we stayed around after the other bookstores had to close, but we've been hanging on.
Christmas sales were slow, "and it just got worse," she said. "Usually spring break picks up and we can get through the summer. We had tourists, but nobody was buying. They'd just come in and look or come in and write down names so they could buy it at Amazon."
May 21, 2008 - The Wall Street Journal reports that Barnes & Nobles is studying to buy Borders. Borders is having declining sales, and if approved, could be ripe for a takeover, as the few big booksellers try to position themselves better in the current book market. Here is the link to the May 21, 2008 WSJ article. Please note, this WSJ article maybe on the web only for a short time. You can research the Wall Street Journal or search for latest articles on this news.