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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Poetry book publishing takes a hit

Check out Jilly Dybka's article on Poetry Hug about Amazon's move to restrict POD publishers from listing their books with Amazon unless they use Amazon's own Booksurge printing service. Another monopoly grows bigger. Scroll down in the article to the link "Why This Sucks So Much For Small Publishers."

I'm concerned. The publisher of my book Femme au chapeau is David Robert Books (a WordTech imprint), uses Lightning Source. They say that quality is an issue with BookSurge. All I know -- as I can't identify books printed with BookSurge to compare -- is that the quality of my book is extremely good. The publishers worked long and hard with me on the cover image and the look of the book from stem to stern. I am very happy with the result.

But now, thanks to Amazon, that little "Order" button at the bottom of my page may no longer point to Amazon. Barnes and Noble carries my book too. At a discount for members. And also used copies.

The real issue, though, is the promotion of poetry books. Anyone looking for a specific book can find an online way to purchase it -- in many cases direct from the small press. How does anyone interested in poetry find out about new titles? Not such an easy thing.

And that's why no one reads poetry anymore. If there were a NY Times Bestselling Poetry List, the whole country would be reading poetry. If only to have things on hand for those wedding and funerals and big anniversaries people are always seeking poems to celebrate. And of course they'd have to include rap and slam CDs.