Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Amazon plot?

Jeff Bezos
On my favorite writing list, The Internet Writing Workshop, there’s been discussion about what Amazon is supposedly doing to self-publishing outfits such as iUniverse and PublishAmerica. Angela Hoy wrote a lengthy story outlining Amazon's supposed malfeasance. As the story goes, bad boy Bezos (see mug shot) is protecting his own BookSurge by removing the “Buy” buttons on listings for competitors’ books. In a variation of the tale, competitive listings themselves are being removed. I read that “all 1500” PublishAmerica authors have been affected. When I expressed skepticism, saying that my iUniverse offering, When Pigs Fly, is still available for purchase on Amazon, a correspondent said I would pay for my smug refusal to read the whole Hoy piece, and my day of reckoning would come.

Yeah, well. Allow me to quote my favorite B-movie actor, Ronald Reagan: Trust, but verify. In the small sampling of PublishAmerica, iUniverse, and BookSurge listings I checked on Amazon, all were treated the same.

Maybe there is something to the claims, but I don't see it. If you want to scare me, do it with easily verifiable evidence. At least do some minimal fact-checking before you pass along a rumor.

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