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Rumors swirled today that Amazon (AMZN) could revoke the buy buttons for books by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, or Hachette if the major publishers can't strike an eBook deal with the online bookseller.
Neither Amazon nor the publishers went on the record about the eBook pricing debate. However, the New York Times has spoken with unnamed publishing executives about the terms of the eBook deal--noting that major publishers are "reluctant" to strike this kind of deal: "Amazon has agreed in principle that the major publishers would be able to set prices in its Kindle store as well. But it is also demanding that they lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms."
Around the Internet, various commentators weighed in. eBookNewser noted that "it's a war out there" also reporting on Amazon's quiet launch of a Kindle App for the Mac.
NYTimes: Amazon.com has threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books, according to two industry executives with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The hardball approach comes less than two months after Amazon shocked the publishing world by removing the “buy” buttons from its site for thousands of printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, in a dispute over e-book pricing.
In what is apparently an effort to correct the glitch that caused the wild discounting of graphic novels on Amazon.com, the online retailer has been forced to remove the buy buttons from all comics publishers distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors. Right now, graphic novels from Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Archaia, Image Comics, Top Shelf and others—comics publishers distributed by Diamond—cannot be purchased on Amazon.com except through resellers.
While neither Amazon nor Diamond has commented officially on the situation, there has been speculation that the glitch was caused by Diamond. The current development seems to confirm it.
Do you think Amazon.com and other internet-only businesses have a right to sell product without collecting sales tax when brick & mortar businesses have been collecting and sending in taxes for years?
If so...skip to the next story...or add your comment below.
E-FACT provides independent businesses and booksellers in particular in the 42 states that collect sales tax but do not have e-fairness legislation state-specific templates to their state legislators and Governor calling for e-fairness. Businesses can simply go to E-FACT and navigate to their state, where they will find the relevant documents that can be adapted and then e-mailed to the appropriate person. We plan for E-FACT to grow over the next few weeks to include op-ed pieces, FAQs, relevant articles, and practical suggestions for advocating on behalf of e-fairness.
On Sunday, March 7, U.S. customers woke up to discover that a huge number of normally expensive hardcover comics were available from Amazon.com for $14.99 apiece. Later in the day, some were discounted even further, to $8.24. Since these books included the Marvel Omnibus line, which normally is cover-priced at $100, lots of people jumped on the bandwagon and ordered wildly. Other affected publishers were IDW, Dark Horse, and Image, both preorders and current releases. As Bully points out, all of the publishers whose works were included were distributed by Diamond Book Distributors, which suggests a massive automated data glitch of some kind.
(corrected from an earlier edition) The Canadian Booksellers Association has demanded that the Canadian government reject Amazon.com's application to open a facility in Canada, according to Quill & Quire.
In a statement, CBA said that "allowing Amazon to operate a business within Canada would contravene the Investment Canada Act which requires that foreign investments in the book publishing and distribution sector be compatible with national cultural policies and be of net benefit to Canada and the Canadian-controlled sector."
And CBA president Stephen Cribar added, "Individual Canadian booksellers have traditionally played a key role in ensuring the promotion of Canadian authors and Canadian culture. These are values that no American dot.com retailer could ever purport to understand or promote."
Amazon applied early this year to Canada's heritage ministry for permission to open an operation in Canada; it could take 45 days for the ministry to make a ruling (Shelf Awareness, March 3, 2010).
The story also mentions Amazon's dropping it's Colorado affiliates, as reported yesterday in LISNews, and a pricing error earlier this week that allowed a lot of inventory to be sold for overly discounted prices.
Amazon is seeking to set up a physical base in Canada, The Bookseller has revealed, and has applied to the government to open a a "new Canadian business".
The move could lead to a huge shake-up of Canada's book trade. Amazon.com does not have a physical operation in the country, but sells books through its domain Amazon.ca. Moving into the country would mean the company could ship to Canadian consumers more quickly and cost-effectively. But to operate there, Amazon must receive permission from Canada's heritage ministry.
The application is subject to a confidential inquiry by the Canadian government, which will assess whether it breaks Canada's tough cultural protection rules, which are designed to prevent American influences from overpowering Canada's culture.
The move could prove to be a boon to Canadian publishers, but it would also hit the country's retailers. Dominant Canadian bookseller Indigo declined to comment.
Amazon launched its Canadian site in June 2002, amid protests from Canadian booksellers who argued that the online store violated regulations that prohibit foreign ownership. The Canadian government ruled that this was not the case since Amazon.com did not have a physical business in the country.
Story from Bookseller UK.
On Jan. 27, Steven P. Jobs was still standing on a stage in San Francisco, presenting Apple’s new iPad, when the phones started ringing. Senior managers from Amazon.com were calling newspaper, magazine and book publishers trying to glean any information possible about the deals Apple was offering them to supply content for its new reading device.
Amazon, which pioneered the e-reader category with its Kindle devices, is determined not to be out-priced by Apple or any other rival.
Since December, Amazon has been pushing publishers to sign a new round of legal agreements that would guarantee that the Kindle price for their content is always the same or lower than the price on other electronic reading devices, such as the iPad or the Sony Reader. The clause, a variation of a legal concept known as “most favored nation,” would guarantee that Amazon’s customers would always get the best price for electronic versions of magazines, newspapers and books.
Things are heating up for Amazon.com on the sales tax front again. The California Senate just passed a bill that would require online retailers like Amazon to collect sales tax on web purchases. According to reports, the measure was part of a $5 billion budget package making its way through the California legislature. Virginia, Colorado and Illinois are also considering sales tax bills targeting online retailers.
Amazon — which only collects sales tax in a handful of states, giving it an advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers — fought hard against a similar wave of bills last year, and managed to stomp out most of them. But for cash-strapped states, desperately seeking new sources of revenue, the "Amazon tax" continues to be a powerful draw.
California lawmakers introduced a similar bill last year, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to veto it, and the matter was dropped. But with California in the midst of a budgetary meltdown, the idea has popped up again. According to reports, the "Amazon tax" bill is expected to generate $107 million in tax revenue annually for California.
The measure has yet to be signed by the Governor, but with California in fiscal crisis, he may just sign the bill this time.