Terms of Engagement: Amazon and IPG

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February 24, 2012

(BLOG POST)


Amazon has withdrawn from sale Kindle versions of IPG client publishers’ titles after IPG, the second-largest independent book distributor, declined to accept new selling terms that, as IPG Mark Suchomel said to IPG client publishers, “would have substantially changed your revenue.” See coverage in Shelf AwarenessPW Daily and Crain’s.

IPG President Mark Suchomel pointed out in a bulletin to IPG client publishers that “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. I have spoken directly with many of our clients and every one of them agrees that we need to hold firm with the terms we now offer.”

Suchomel  urges IPG clients to “support accounts that support your business. Ask the organizations you support to do the same. 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.”

He goes on to say “Remember 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.”

Certainly independent publishers value their relationships with all trading partners, but that relationship can’t be at the expense of their livelihood. We at IBPA are especially concerned with the impact that ever-declining profit margins have on the smaller independent publisher who is least able to absorb it. We commend IPG for its support of the independent publishing community and for shining the spotlight on this critical issue.

We welcome comments from IBPA members and others.

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