I was planning on going the entire week without doing a post -- why, I don't know; just a way to mix it up, I guess -- but then I just saw Nick Mamatas post on Twitter how Amazon has taken down the Kindle version of his novel Sensation, as well as every other Kindle edition from PM Press. Here's a bit of why:
President of the second-largest independent book distributor Independent Publishers Group (IPG) Mark Suchomel said in an e-mail alert yesterday, "I am disappointed to report that Amazon.com has failed to renew its agreement with IPG to sell Kindle titles." As of yesterday, Suchomel says, Amazon has taken down all IPG ebooks from its site, though they continue to sell print books from the distributor's clients. (Our own check confirms that Kindle editions are missing for IPG titles, complete with the standard box to "tell the publisher!" you would like to read this book on Kindle. Individual Kindle hyperlinks now result in error messages.)
Suchomel writes: "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. I'm not sure what has changed at Amazon over the last few months that they now find it unacceptable to buy from IPG at terms that are acceptable to our other customers." Suchomel reiterated to us that the company's terms of sale for ebooks have not changed.
Obviously, this is messed up, and I hope IPG and Amazon come to a quick and fair agreement. Everyone makes Amazon out to be a bully, and it's stunts like this one that just goes to prove it.
I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. On the one hand, I'm currently benefiting quite well by self-publishing my ebooks through them, but on the other hand, they go and strong-arm the smaller publishers (and sometimes even bigger publishers) into agreeing to terms that will ultimately hurt not only that publisher, but the writers and even the readers ... not to mention, of course, putting bookstores out of business.
Anyway, if you'd like to support Nick and PM Press, you can purchase his novel directly from the publisher's website.