As expected, Amazon filed a motion to dismiss our lawsuit last month. BookLocker today filed its response.

1. BookLocker’s original complaint is HERE.

2. Amazon’s motion is HERE.

3. BookLocker’s response is HERE.

We’d love to hear your COMMENTS! Please post them RIGHT HERE.

The wheels of justice tend to turn very slowly. We’ll keep you updated as the case progresses.


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12 Comments so far

  1. Earl Winebarger on July 31, 2008 8:17 pm

    The giant continues to demand it’s own way through all aspects of life and business. Keep the faith and know you are being supported.

    God Bless,
    Earl W.

  2. Barbara Brabec on August 2, 2008 1:59 pm

    Amazon has pulled out its big guns, but in spite of its impressive legal Motion, I found your response to it equally impressive and highly informative re authors’ options for selling their POD books. I’ve given your efforts some support in my ezine and on my website. Hope it helps.

    BTW . . . did you see this article, “Amazon.com to Acquire AbeBooks” just posted at http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m08/i01/s01. Looks like they want an even bigger share of the online bookseller pie than they already have.

    Barbara Brabec
    BarbaraBrabec.com

  3. Jeff Lazerus on August 3, 2008 1:00 pm

    DISCLOSURE: I am not a lawyer. I don’t work for Amazon, Booklocker, or anyone else for that matter. I am not a publisher or an author. I do have a stake in the future of POD, as a digital printing manager.

    Amazon should probably lose this case and alter their business model a little. Although they have a reasonable argument. Not that they aren’t “tying” which it seems to me they clearly are. They are doing a couple things which seem wrong, to me: one, they make you pay for the privilege of selling your titles at their store, and two they don’t allow the same supply chain distribution (the Add to Shopping Cart button).

    Amazon is free to control their own supply chain, but I think of it like WalMart. WalMart does not manufacture their own products. If they did, they’d be in the antitrust zone, I think (?). WalMart uses its power to cause suppliers to drive costs down, otherwise you won’t make a sale to them. This is fair competition, regardless of your value system re: WalMart’s corporate philosophy.

    Amazon obviously doesn’t make that distinction, or they think POD isn’t really manufacturing. It’s as if the creation of the content is the product, how the product is moved from creator to reader is the “service” Amazon provides. Kindle is a great example of this. Amazon themselves are using their power to determine how electronic books are delivered to the reader. I don’t think they are benevolent about this. So, Amazon is trying to determine for themselves how we as readers get content through new technology, whether it’s POD or ebooks or MP3s (I have to download an Amazon player? What the?).

    On the other hand, and I hate to say this, but Amazon, as a retailer, doesn’t HAVE to sell books supplied by anyone they don’t want… they say that in their motion. I don’t know if Booklocker’s lawyers can prove otherwise. Does the complaint seek to get Amazon to restore the “Add to Shopping Cart” button for any publisher or POD printer? Or does the complaint merely seek to call what Amazon is doing illegal? If it turns out the says it IS illegal, what then?

    I wonder if there is a less litigious solution. Probably not, you guys have probably tried to reason with them… why Amazon is printing books in the first place, to me that’s the dubious part of the whole thing.

    jeff@jefflazerus.com

  4. Anne Wayman on August 4, 2008 11:16 am

    Thanks for the update… I guess the next step is your response to Amazon’s motion? Keep up the good work.

    A

    BookLocker’s response is HERE.

  5. Amazon Files to Dismiss BookLocker’s Lawsuit re BookSurge on August 5, 2008 2:31 pm

    [...] (www.thegoldenpencil.com) On July 31, 2008, BookLocker filed their response to Amazon’s expected motion to dismiss BookLocker’s suit against the online retailer for its insistence self-publishers use Amazon owned BookSurge to receive preferential treatment on the virtual bookstore. The announcement was made to the blogosphere on Angela Hoy’s Amazon BookSurge Antitrust Lawsuit Clearinghouse blog. [...]

  6. Scott Rose on August 8, 2008 4:21 pm

    Amazon, having decided its bullying and illegal businless plan a priori, in the face of this law suit was not going to do what is right in the interest of 1) anti-trust laws; 2) free speech and; 3) the public.

    Many are the meritricious arguments in Amazon’s answer; one is gratified to see them so skillfully and persuasively debunked.

    However, the company’s executives should rethink their obnoxious and apparently illegal business plan vis-a-vis POD publishing, because of the way implementing it would affect free speech and consumers in contemporary society. Historically, failing a great stroke of improbable luck or connections to the likes of Jackie O, even the best of writers had a titanic struggle to get published. A Confederacy of Dunces is considered a classic today, but the writer did not see it published in his lifetime. POD publishing has made it possible for the public to more immediately connect with the works of the John Kennedy Tooles in our midst. Surely Amazon realizes that the file conversions it wishes to impose on POD publishers wishing to continue to sell their products through Amazon are so unfeasible for the POD companies that enforcing the policy will wipe out the advantages that the public has lately gained with respect to becoming acquainted with worthy, contemporary writers. Every business wants to maximize its profits but putting bottomless corporate avarice above social progress . . . social progress which the corporation should be proud to advance . . . has here reached a point where it may adequately be labelled as despicable.

    Apart from questions of free speech and the general cultural climate, Amazon wants to bully the competition between printers out of supplying the public with a high quality product sold at a competitive price. Already one may easily verify that the sole printer Amazon wishes to impose on its markets does not produce the most luxurious of printed pages, bindings and covers. Only the most foolish of fools would believe that that printer will improve the quality of its products once the competition has been eliminated.

    Amazon should not abandon its plan because of a law suit presented by Booklocker; it should abandon it in the name of a cultural and social decency. Ultimately, Amazon will be strengthened, not weakened, by abandoning this misguided and hateful strong-arming.

  7. Richard Henricks on August 12, 2008 10:03 pm

    I have no problem with what Amazon is doing, but only because I dealt with distributors and wholesalers in the 90s that took 65 percent from the cover price of my self-published books. Don’t know what it’s like these days, but if Amazon disappeared physical world distributorships with the “Add to Your Cart” button thing and Kindle format standardization—t’would be OK with me. (There’s a lot of misinformation out there.)

  8. Tawny on August 27, 2008 9:26 pm

    As an author of a POD book that once was “published” by BookSurge, I know what Amazon is doing.

    I had the President of BookSurge tell me in 2006 that Bezos “wanted to acquire ALL book titles,” past, present and future and that “Amazon was buying up large amounts of no longer in print titles” to that end.

    Amazon is now using its position as a huge retailer to acquire current POD titles for itself so BookSurge can print them (which BookSurge will do badly.)

    Amazon is forcing POD companies to either hand over their titles/authors or be excluded from the benefits of selling their books in a normal, non third-party fashion.

    To answer Jeff’s comment (see below) about there possibly being a “less litigious” way to deal with Amazon:

    No way. Amazon simply does not respond to publishers/authors.

    One thing I didn’t see addressed by Plaintiff’s lawyers was the issue of Amazon being able to make more money off the POD titles it acquires. If Amazon has its own company publish them it obviously will get a bigger percentage of the sale price.

  9. John Fodor on September 18, 2008 1:37 pm

    Can’t believe that Amazon is being so hard-nosed on this issue.
    It seems to me that their entire approach, including their motion to dismiss, is condescending, to say the least.
    I guess they think they’re big enough to do anything they want. Hopefully they will be knocked down a peg.
    Great response to their motion. Thought it was well stated – precise and to the point.
    Anxious to see what court response will be.
    Keep up the good work.

    John

  10. Michael Johnson on December 12, 2008 3:31 pm

    I’m an author with eight books. Early on, I placed two of my titles on amazon.com. Soon, I learned never to do that again. Imagine my surprise later when a customer called saying amazon.com was showing my most recent book – Healing Shine – as “out of print.” When I checked the site, there it was…shown as “out of print.” I had never sent amazon.com the book, the cover, or any information whatsoever. Attempting to correct this situation, I contacted them only to be told,”Send us inventory of this product, then we will remove ‘out of print’ message.” A half-dozen emails later, nothing has changed. Amazon.com continues with the message that my book is out of print. It is not out of print. It’s obvious amazon.com isn’t singling me out – they hardly need any of my books to survive – but rather employing a strong-arm approach to intimidate authors into doing business with them. Anyone have any advice?

    Michael Johnson
    Johnson Farms
    Campbell, Texas 75422
    michaeljohnsonbooks.com

  11. Robert Semel on February 25, 2009 4:23 pm

    I agree completely with Booklocker’s law suit. A similar situation occurred years ago when Microsoft essentially put out of business competitor’s of their Office program. WordPerfect and QuattroPro, which were superior, were essentially cut out by MS when they bundled Office with Windows “at no extra charge” but would not discount Windows without it. They succeeded in doing this because of their overwhelming size. Once a huge market for Office was established it made little difference that the courts started laying down rulings that prohibited their monopolistic behavior. The damage was done!

  12. Theresa M. Moore on November 24, 2009 3:05 pm

    As an author now stuck like a fly in amber in Amazon’s byzantine labyrinth of books and ebooks, I know well what kind of monster it is. To date I have had NO sales of the print books from any supplier I use, and making changes so that my current editions are properly presented and sold are impossible. Therefore, in future I will not be submitting my books to Amazon or its Kindle supplier. I have been incommunications with my congressman, and he has in turned passed my recommendations to the FTC. Amazon is completely oblivious to the complaints it receives from disenfranchised authors and small publishers every day, and their response tactic is to ignore the problems and hope they go away. Little did I realize, however, that Amazon has been taken to task by the FTC before for acquiring Alexa, in 2000. I suggest you hunt down the articles pointing out the arguments Amazon used for that. As a response to Amazon’s arrogance I now sell my books and ebooks directly from my site in a variety of formats through other suppliers and markets, and plan to continue doing it that way for the future. I would advise anyone else not wishing to get involved with Amazon’s “Imperial entanglements” to do the same. The choice is up to the individual, of course.