Amazon’s months-long effort to wring better terms and higher co-op from publishers, first reported by PW in December, has resulted in its first break with one of its vendors. In a special alert sent Tuesday, IPG president Mark Suchomel told his distribution clients that Amazon has failed to renew its agreement with IPG to sell Kindle titles. As of February 21, Suchomel wrote, “the Amazon.com website no longer offers for sale any electronic titles from any of IPG's client publishers. All print editions are still available, as always.”
Suchomel said he talked to Amazon most recently as last week about their proposal for new terms on print and digital titles, but couldn’t reach any agreement. The proposal, Suchomel wrote to clients “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.” Suchomel, emphasizing that IPG had made no changes in its terms to Amazon, noted that if he changed terms for one account he would be required to change them for all, something that is not feasible. Suchomel said he would be happy to sell Amazon IPG e-books at existing terms and that it is up to them to renew discussions.
Suchomel told PW he has received positive feedback from IPG’s publishers since his alert went out. He is encouraging authors and publishers to direct consumers to other outlets who are stocking both print and digital books. Suchomel hopes that other accounts may be able to help offset some of the lost business with Amazon. “In the long run, publishers will be happy to sell books to account where they make money, rather than to places they can’t,” Suchomel told PW. In his alert, Suchomel advised clients that in “every e-mail, ad, website, press release, author interview, and otherwise mention of an individual title needs to include the following: This book is available in print or electronic edition at your local independent bookshop, www.BarnesandNoble.com, www.indiebound.org, iTunes, Kobo, and elsewhere. It is not currently available in a Kindle edition.”
He also urged publishers to make available all electronic titles in all versions other than Kindle, and to “remind family and friends of the value to our society of independent voices and ideas, and that independent publishers and bookstores need to be supported or they will go away.” Suchomel told PW that most of IPG’s clients “will be fine if they never sell another e-book through Amazon.”
Still, he noted in his alert, “that Amazon continues to be an important account that sells a lot of units. This is a business decision on Amazon's part, and hopefully they will soon decide to reverse it and buy at our standard terms. IPG will be informing our other electronic book accounts of their favorable competitive position on our electronic titles.”