March 16, 2012

IPG publisher says industry is in a state of ‘undeclared war’


An indie publisher has added his voice to the growing number of public opponents of Amazon.  In his article ‘Amazon’s Assault on Intellectual Freedom’, Bryce Milligan of Wings Press in San Antonio, Texas, calls the stand-off between IPG and Amazon an ‘undeclared war’. He continues:

It has been increasingly obvious to independent publishers for the last two years that Amazon intends to put all independents out of business — publishers, distributors, and bookstores. Under the guise of providing greater access, Amazon seemingly wants to kill off the distributors, then kill off the independent publishers and bookstores, and become the only link between the reader and the author. The attack on distributors like IPG and on some larger independent presses is only part of the plan. Amazon has also been going after the ultimate source of literature, the authors…

For Amazon to rip ebook sales away from independent publishers now seems a classic bait-and-switch tactic guaranteed to kill small presses by the hundreds. Ah, but predatory business practices are so very American these days. Amazon could have been a bright and shining star, lighting the way to increased literacy and improved access to alternative literatures. Alas, it looks more likely to be a large and deadly asteroid. We, the literary dinosaurs, are watching closely to see if this is a near miss or the beginning of extinction. Fortunately, this generation of dinosaurs is a little better equipped than the last one to take measures to avoid such a fate.

He’s set up an online petition as an example of one such measure, though it’s unclear what he intends to do with the signatures. His most straightforward advice is to vote with your wallet and avoid Amazon altogether.


Ellie Robins is an editor at Melville House. Previously, she was managing editor of Hesperus Press.