In the musical The Producers, there is a very funny part when a choir of obnoxious sounding old ladies start to sing over-the-top back up to what Nathan Lane is singing and he turns to them in despair and pleas as only Nathan Lane can, “Don’t help me.”
That is exactly how I felt when I read this email from Lulu today.
Your book has been selected for listing on Amazon.com’s Marketplace!
Dear Lulu Author,
Congratulations, your book has been selected for listing on Amazon.com’s Marketplace! As a result, your book will now be easily found on the world’s largest online bookseller.
There will be some differences between your listing on Lulu and your listing on Amazon. Amazon charges a fee to list your book, and in order to cover that cost your book will be listed with a 30% markup; however your royalty will remain the same, and your book’s price on Lulu will not change. Furthermore, your book sales on Amazon will reflect in your Lulu account immediately.
Lulu is committed to helping you increase your book’s sales and we hope you enjoy the benefits of listing your book on Amazon.com.
My first thought was, I wish you wouldn’t. My second thought, upon re-reading the email several times was, “Wait, which book?” This email went to our Priced Nostalgia account which we mainly only use for short runs and special offers and didn’t list what book the email referred to. I cannot even think of which book they would be trying to activate this service on within that account. Even if they did activate it for a random book, just about all of them are already on Amazon. Would they just create another version? I don’t want other versions of any of our books out there, particularly ones with a 30% mark-up.
What if we’d had a book with an ISBN on it that wasn’t ready for publication? Would they have just started selling in on Amazon? Not in love with that idea.
I think that placement on the Amazon Marketplace is a great service with great value for authors, especially those with no distribution. But for someone like us where we already have distribution through our own partners and only use Lulu for special orders and other things outside of our distribution, we not only do not want it but I also resent the fact that they’re email makes it sound like they activated it already without asking. I don’t like that anymore than I like the fact that they didn’t mention which book it was activated on.
What is strange about this is that, had we known this service existed, we might have set up a title in the future to take advantage of it. But randomly activating it on a title without asking and without telling us which title can create all sorts of unintended consequences. It’s one thing to tell us about the service and then let us opt into it at a later date if we wish when we’ve planned for it. It’s another to force us into it.
Now I sound more annoyed than I am, I am sure. In the end, I am actually curious to see what this service is like so I intend to watch and see what happens before I make my judgment. But I am a pretty easy going gal, all things considered, and many Lulu users have a habit of freaking out over nothing already so this might get ugly.
I just think that not making this opt in, even for BETA users, is going to make some people pretty upset. Wouldn’t it have been easier to ask permission than beg forgiveness?