from the amazon-administering-last-writes? dept.
Amazon controls a big chunk of the book distribution business but as this New York Times article indicates they are not a benevolent overlord--using a number of techniques to bully publishers for more favorable terms.
Over the years this has been a constant problem for small, specialty publishing houses (the source of many important books), but now it's also affecting the majors.
From the article:
One is simply warning that books will take a long time to show up. Amazon has been relentlessly expanding its delivery ambitions, and just this week announced Sunday deliveries in 15 more cities, including Austin, Tex., and New Orleans. Its two-day free shipping program has more than 20 million members.
But if a reader wants a Malcolm Gladwell book from Amazon, "Outliers," "The Tipping Point," "Blink" and "What the Dog Saw" were all listed as taking two to three weeks. A Spanish edition from another publisher was available immediately.
Then there is the question of price. "Outliers" was selling Friday for $15.29, a mere 10 percent discount. On Barnes & Noble, the book was $12.74.
With some Hachette authors, Amazon seemed to be discouraging buyers in other ways. On the top of the page for Jeffery Deaver's forthcoming novel "The Skin Collector," Amazon suggested that the prospective customer buy other novels entirely.
"Similar items at a lower price," it said, were novels by Lee Child and John Sandford.