What is the OFFICE_BOOKSHELF connection?

I recently ran across my book being sold on Amazon.com by OFFICE_BOOKSHELF for $29.00 at Amazon.com. The list price is $15.95. A Google search turned up an association with African American Literature Book Club. Another search turned up my book for the same price at Sci-Fi Emporium (recently changed). I even found it at a Star Astrologer web site and Sexual Astrology web site. A search of OFFICE_BOOKSHELF turns up an association with Flying Compass Books. And the list goes on. Most of these sites have a link that says In Association With Amazon.com. This is interesting, to say the least, since my ISBN has not even cleared yet.

An article appearing on Techcrunch accuses that Amazon.com would only sell books from their POD service. The site, on March 27, 2008 said, “Amazon has announced that it will only sell print-on-demand books printed by its own print-on-demand service BookSurge.
“The print-on-demand book business has thrived in the last few years as players such as Lulu, Blurb and others have catered to publishers looking to reduce overhead on inventory. It will be very difficult for anyone to compete with Amazon in the print-on-demand space.
“The decision may also cause book prices to rise with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Amazon BookSurge prices are higher than other print-on-demand providers.” So I, naturally, became curious.

The key is to find out who OFFICE_BOOKSHELF is. There is no corporate address or headquarters listed on the web. WHOIS reveals that the only two of these companies that are linked are, of course, Star Astrologer and Sexual Astrology. They are owned by the same person, but you could tell that by going to the two web sites. The only thing that links these companies and others in my search is OFFICE_BOOKSHELF. I have yet to find anything about this OFFICE_BOOKSHELF. Other authors of print on demand products are asking questions, as well.

Amazon.com, for the record, does not set the prices that they sell on their web site. Those prices are set by the seller. As long as they do not violate Amazon’s terms of service, they can do what they want. Print on demand authors have little control over prices set by bookstores or, especially, on-line sellers. I suggest that, if you find a title that you might be interested in, Google the title and see if you can find it cheaper.