Remember how print-on-demand technologies were going to liberate anyone to publish books? Still true, as long as you don't want to sell your wares on Amazon.com. For access to the online bookseller which controls 15 percent of the U.S. market, you'll have to use BookSurge, an Amazon subsidiary. That's according to a number of print-on-demand authors and publishers who've been contacted by Amazon and told to either switch to BookSurge or see the "buy" button disappear from their books' listings. The books will still be listed, but customers will have to order through resellers, and the titles won't qualify for Amazon's free shipping offers.
I've got a lot of friends who've been hit hard by the changes in the publishing industry over the last few years, especially the collapse of Publisher's Group West which left small publishers like McSweeney's short millions of dollars. Amazon has now vertically integrated online book sales, print-on-demand, audiobook downloads and e-book sales through the Kindle. This move is just the latest example of how they can now dictate the terms of American book publishing. I'd write a book about it, but would anyone read? (Photo by AP/Andy Rogers)