Amazon has pulled 5,000 titles from its Kindle Store as a result of a publisher refusing to change the terms of its contract with the online retailer.
Independent Publishers Group (IPG) is a distributor offering marketing, sales and distribution to smaller client publishers – representing around 400 of them.
The change only affects the IPG e-book titles and the print titles are still available on Amazon with the e-books available from other retailers. IPG president, Mark Suchomel, in a letter to client publishers, said:
“As has been publicly reported, Amazon.com is putting pressure on publishers and distributors to change their terms for electronic and print books to be more favorable toward Amazon. Our electronic book agreement recently came up for renewal, and Amazon took the opportunity to propose new terms for electronic and print purchases that would have substantially changed your revenue from the sale of both. It’s obvious that publishers can’t continue to agree to terms that increasingly reduce already narrow margins.”
While the specifics of the new arrangement proposed by Amazon have not been revealed by Suchomel, it is thought that Amazon wants to move away from the agency model currently in place – where the publishers get 70 per cent of the sale price with Amazon taking the rest.
Amazon may be seeking to move towards a co-op model that would see publishers and distributors paying up-front to have their titles in the Kindle Store, as well as a pre-negotiated percentage of the sales.
Amazon has a track record of actions like this, having switched off the 'Buy' button on all Macmillan titles in the Kindle Store in early 2010, after the publisher asked to increase the price of e-books from $9.99 to $15. Amazon eventually had to give in and switched to a different agency model for e-books.
Amazon has yet to comment on the situation.