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Two US publishers turn backs on Amazon.com

11 April 2012

From The Bookseller:

At least two of the big six publishers in the US are refusing to renew contracts with Amazon.com, with the giant internet retailer said to be downplaying the promotion of their titles as a result of the dispute.

. . . .

The problems have come to the fore after Amazon demanded increases in ‘co-op promotional fees’ for e-books. According to Salon, in some cases Amazon has been asking for promotional fees “30 times their 2011 cost”. Publishers Weekly reported back in August that Amazon had been asking for a higher contribution to marketing costs, and in February this year, the US distributor Independent Publishers Group saw its e-book titles removed from Amazon’s website after it refused to give in to demands.

PaidContent notes that none of the ‘big-six’ publishers’ titles have so far been removed from Amazon.com, as has happened in the past both in the US and UK, but said sources indicated that it was not promoting big-six houses’ books on the site or in marketing materials “in ways it once did”. The report did not name the publishers it thought had seen their books lose Amazon promotional support, but Amazon’s ‘Best Books of April’ campaign features titles from a range of publishers, across both print and digital formats, including books from Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Random House, and HarperCollins, but none from Penguin or the Hachette Book Group–though books from these publishers do feature in the ‘category’ highlights.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller and thanks to many different Passive Voice visitors for tips on this topic.

Given the antitrust suit filed against five of the Big Six today, PG doesn’t think it’s a good time for big publishers to engage in concerted action against Amazon.

Amazon, Big Publishing

13 Comments to “Two US publishers turn backs on Amazon.com”

  1. It might not be, PG, but how often do improperly disciplined children actually understand that temper tantrums are not the way to get things done?

    • Flip-side — why is it that if the publishers put their money where their mouth is, by declining to deal with Amazon anymore, it’s a “tantrum”? If they don’t like Amazon, they should stop dealing with them, right? Have the courage of their convictions? Stop whining about Amazon and grow a spine?

      Seriously, we can’t have this both ways.

  2. P.G.

    If I have ebooks purchased from Amazon, which are from these groups of publishers.

    Does that mean they could remove them from my library, which is situated on Amazon itself?


    • After Amazon’s 1984/Animal Farm debacle, I don’t think amazon will ever do that again. I have a couple of books in my kindle library which seem to be UK books mistakenly offered for sale on the US site for a brief period before being taken down. They can no longer be found on amazon’s US site, but I can still download them whenever I want.

      • DDW,

        Thank you, much appreciated.


        • Please note that the reply isn’t saying they CAN’T. Just that they haven’t. It would be worthwhile digging around for the Kindle’s current TOS. And you should absolutely store backups locally. A quick search for the proper Calibre plug in will make sure you always have access to your books.

  3. Gaughran’s comments are good if you visit the page for this article.

    I suspect that we will see more promotion of Amazon’s own imprints in the absence of some Big Six titles. It makes sense. And I selfishly wonder how it will effect me and suspect that, on the end, it won’t.


  4. Am I missing something, or are some people making much ado about nothing? It sounds like two publishers have decided to stop buying ad space from Amazon. I don’t have a problem with that; I don’t buy very many ‘Big 6’ books, and I don’t buy very much of anything from Amazon.

    Things will get more interesting when the ‘Big 6’ actually stop selling to Amazon. Then they either have to drop DRM on their mobi books or lose all their Kindle customers – and set up their own on-line store(s), of course. I can’t see Sony, Kobo and B&N selling mobi books. Maybe Books on Board can handle the traffic? — I doubt it.

  5. I don’t care whether Amazon advertises these books or not, because I don’t find a lot of books because of ads. However, I will be very pissed if Amazon stops selling the print editions of these big six books, because I read a lot of print books and a lot of trad pub books and for those of us outside the US/UK, Amazon is often the only way to get these books.

  6. Does “promotion” mean these books will not show up in “Customers also bought” ?

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