Letters To The Editor For June 11th

Amazon / BookSurge Class Action Lawsuit

Hi Ang:

Just read about your fight with Amazon via fellow Canadian Debbie Elickson’s Inside Publishing e-newsletter and wanted to wish you luck. My wife and I in the past have bought a number of books, DVDs, etc. from Amazon but as a protest over their draconian efforts to control the publishing industry, we won’t be doing so any more.

I can sympathize with you because here in Canada freelance writers (myself included) are facing similar bullying (or should we call it like it is: money-grabbing) tactics from various newspaper chains that now dominate our market. One in particular asked travel writers (another hat I wear) to sign a contract giving them universal, perpetual rights to any stories and photos we sell to them. Where in the past we used to be able to negotiate sales with individual newspapers within their chain, this was changed a few years ago to a situation whereby the first newspaper in the chain bought your article (for a pittance) and then you would get a paltry 25% of the initial fee from any other member newspaper that ran the article. As if that wasn’t insulting enough, they have now changed the rules to the point where you sell it once (at the same ridiculously low fee as in the past) and they can do whatever they want with the article – including selling it through their syndication service to any other outlet in the world. And, of course, we get nothing should one of their members use the article or if they sell it to a third party. In other words, we become our own competitors. If I tried to sell the article to a publication in the States, I would be in breach of copyright on my own article – or at the very least I would be rebuffed because that publication already has access to it through the chain’s syndicate!

I had already sold one last article to the chain before refusing to sign the new contract and it subsequently appeared in two other member newspapers – for which I received zilch. I didn’t even get an answer from the Travel Editor to the email I sent her. Up to that point, she had been very complimentary about my work and had answered every email. I feel sorry for her because she is between the proverbial rock and a hard place, but it’s my grandkids I want to take to the circus, not hers or her publisher’s.

Never has the old adage been truer: The real golden rule is that them that has the gold makes the rules!

Go get ’em, Ang!


Tom Douglas
Author, Some Sunny Day


Dear Angela,

I have no intention of letting a greedy corporation bully me around in my profession. Long before there was an Amazon there were books Tell Amazon for me that I will publish my books on demand wherever I wish. I am perfectly capable of marketing my own books. Thank Goodness Amazon does not own the entire Internet — yet.

-Name not published on request


Hi Angela

I just read all the updates on your class-action suit…you must have a spine made of titanium and thank G you do!

I have been in a watch ‘n see mode with Amazon to evaluate my best route for publishing. In the meantime, I contacted Booksurge and got a classic used car salesman with a pressure button. I finally got them to send me two examples (free no less) of their POD color interior books to see the quality, etc. Printing was fine but when they sat on the table for a week along with other perfect bound varnish cover books I had in my library, their covers CURLED!!!!

I signed up for news on the suit and in the meantime will work on getting my ducks in a row here.


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