Amazon refuses orders of books of publishers it's trying to pressure

Amazon has stopped selling some titles from Hachette as well as Bonnier, a German publisher, The New York Times reported Friday.

The company is reportedly trying to get better terms on e-books from publishers as it faces pressure from shareholders to improve profit margins, the Times reports.

The escalation is the latest in Amazon assaults on Hachette titles and raises questions about the dangers inherent in a company controlling so much of the book market. About 65 percent of the U.S. ebook market is controlled by Amazon, according to the New Yorker. But book sales make up just 7 percent of Amazon’s revenue.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has battled a publisher. In 2010, it briefly removed the “Buy” button for books from Macmillan, the New York Times reported. Now the company has engaged in tactics such as raising the price of books, suggesting books that are “similar but lower in price” and telling customers that the books will ship three to five weeks even if they are in stock.

One customer said she was boycotting Amazon but didn’t think it would work, “due to the magnetism of their efficiency and their massive stock of everything,” as Silicon Beat wrote this week.

Nina Laden, a children’s book author, said on Facebook that Amazon’s actions are intended  for writers to then put pressure on their publisher to cave to Amazon’s demands. But she is telling her readers to go elsewhere to buy her books:

It has made me tell my readers to shop elsewhere- and they are and will. Authors and illustrators struggle to make low percentage royalties. We are not “big businesses,” yet we are the mainstay of what you sell. Do you really think that this will endear Amazon to us, or do you- does Jeff Bezos- truly not care? It’s all about money, I am sure.

 

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (130 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.