Blind-Sided by Amazon

July 2001
by Barry Hoffman

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I am the Publisher of Gauntlet Press, a specialty firm that publishes signed limited editions of classic titles (Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and Star Caravan, Richard Matheson’s Somewhere in Time, to name just three) and the works of contemporary authors (F. Paul Wilson, Poppy Z. Brite, Peter Straub, etc.). We publish six signed limiteds per year and sell our books to individuals through our Web site and mailing list, specialty dealers and Amazon.com. That is, until last week.

In the past, several months prior to a new title’s publication, I would go to the publishers page on Amazon.com and fill out a form to list our title as a Special Order. I would also forward a .jpg of the cover art. Once the book was listed (within a week), I could provide additional information (publisher’s comments, reviews, interviews, and author’s comments). I decided what discount would be available. Amazon.com paid for shipping. Orders came directly to me. Once the title became available, I would ship the very next day.

Aside from exposing the book to the world (we’ve received e-mails from Poland, Israel, Japan, and Australia regarding books of ours purchased on Amazon.com), a major benefit was getting paid up front. With the purchase order was Amazon.com’s credit card number, which I could run through immediately. Payment was instantaneous. No paperwork. No waiting 30, 60, or 90 days for payment. It seemed almost too good to be true.

 

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