A group of Japanese publishers is voicing concern over Amazon’s recent negotiation tactics with them. Asiaone.com reports, “Several Tokyo-based publishers said Amazon recently unveiled a four-point system that rates them based on the size of the commission they pay for selling books on the US company’s vast website, among other criteria. Amazon then pushes hardest to promote books from publishers who agreed to the most favourable contract terms, which directly impacts how a book sells, they said, confirming a report by Japan’s Asahi newspaper this week.”
American publisher Hachette and Swedish publishing conglomerate Bonnier have separately expressed similar frustration with Amazon. In May, Hachette became locked in a battle with the e-tailer when negotiations over ebook prices broke down. Amazon reportedly began delaying and “refusing orders” of books published by Hachette, and recommending other books to customers seeking specific Hachette titles. The standoff has extended into a conflict between Amazon and authors united with Hachette writers.
Meanwhile, Bonnier has also alleged that Amazon is bullying them. Quoting a piece by The Digital Reader‘s Nate Hoffelder, a blog post by independent publisher Melville House points out that Bonnier will feel the squeeze most in Germany:
“Germany has fixed price book laws; publishers set the retail price and retailers are not allowed to discount their books more than (I think) 10%. As a result, any money that Amazon squeezes out of a publisher ends up in Amazon’s pocket, and not in the pocket of consumers.”
At ReadersUnited.com, the Amazon Books Team addressed the Hachette drama, saying any publisher who refuses to reduce prices is compromising revenue opportunity for writers and publishers and reducing the number of readers for whom books are accessible.
Amazon’s Japan office has declined to comment.