'No plans' for Amazon UK p.o.d.

<p>Amazon.co.uk has said there are no plans to introduce its controversial print on demand service BookSurge to the United Kingdom. US parent Amazon.com caused a storm last week after it told publishers that all p.o.d. titles would have to be printed at Amazon&#39;s own fulfilment centre. It has raised fears that Amazon is trying to squeeze competitors out of the print on demand market.</p><p>One observer said that the move could be seen as &quot;the thin end of the wedge&quot;. &quot;Will they eventually say to HarperCollins for example &#39;We don&#39;t want your physical books anymore. Instead we will print them at our centres&#39;? If you look at what they have done with eBooks, they are selling them in their own format. Where do you draw the line?&quot;</p><p>Angela Hoy, co-owner of print on demand services company BookLocker, who raised the first objections, said: &quot;From the p.o.d. publishers we&#39;ve talked to, and from our own experience at BookLocker, we could all be looking at a dire and immediate threat of revenue cuts if we refuse to sign the Amazon/BookSurge contract.&quot;<br /><br />PublishAmerica said that it had been told that if it did not comply, the &quot;Buy&quot; button would be removed from all of the publisher&#39;s listings. &quot;This demand would force PublishAmerica to submit 60,000 separate book files (text and cover), and redo each of them in order to conform to Amazon&#39;s complicated technical specifications.&quot;</p><p>Amazon.com responded publicly this week, putting an open letter on its website. It said that the move was to ensure that books were able to be sent to customers using services like Amazon Prime, which provides speedier shipping for an annual fee. &quot;Print on demand items printed inside our own fulfilment centers can make our Amazon Prime cutoff times. P.o.d. items printed outside cannot. Simply put, we can provide a better, more timely customer experience if the p.o.d. titles are printed inside our own fulfillment centres. In addition, printing these titles in our own fulfillment centres saves transportation costs and transportation fuel.&quot;</p><p>It said that publishers who wished to use third party print on demand services could continue to do so. However, they would have to provide at least five copies of the book to Amazon via its Advantage service, which costs publishers $29.95 per year and 55% of the list price of each book sold to join. &quot;That small cache of inventory allows us to provide the same rapid fulfilment capability to our customers that we would have if we were printing the titles ourselves on p.o.d. printing machines located inside our fulfilment centers,&quot; it said.</p><p>An Amazon.co.uk spokesman said there were &quot;no plans&quot; to introduce the BookSurge service into the UK, but added: &quot;We do not comment on future plans.&quot;</p>