From The Wall Street Journal:
Barnes & Noble Inc. has sharply reduced the number of Simon & Schuster titles it carries in its stores as well as the promotion it gives those books as a result of a financial dispute between the two companies, say people familiar with the matter.
The dispute, which one publishing executive likened to a blackout of TV channels by a cable operator, reflects tensions created by the shift to digital reading and the impact of online discounting, which are shaking up publishing.
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Barnes & Noble is also pressing Simon & Schuster for more compensation, such as costs associated with in-store promotions. Publishers typically give retailers money to cover certain store marketing costs. The retailer is arguing that its stores serve as the primary way for consumers to discover new writers, say people familiar with the situation. The retailer worries that consumers use its stores as “showrooms” to find titles that they then order online at a discounted price, the people said.
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The dispute holds risks for both sides. Simon & Schuster is losing sales and promotions at the biggest book chain in the U.S. While the retailer is still carrying the publisher’s biggest books in quantity, titles by lesser-known authors have been cut sharply, said the people familiar with the matter. Orders for some titles have been reduced by as much as 90%, according to one literary agent.
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The disagreement comes as readers increasingly embrace e-books. At Simon & Schuster, for example, digital-book sales grew 24% in the fourth quarter, even as total publishing revenue fell 6%. Digital books represented 24% of total publishing revenue that quarter, up from 18% a year earlier.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)