Amazon’s feud with major book publishers could get worse before it gets better.
Last week, Amazon started punishing book publisher Hachette after both parties failed to reach a new, more lucrative contract agreement back in April. The move led Amazon to stop offering pre-orders or discounts on Hachette books as well as yanking all Hachette books from product recommendations on its website. And as a result, authors aren’t getting much needed royalty payments, and consumers aren’t buying as many books.
Now, similar Amazon contracts with book publishers Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins are close to expiring, according to a Bloomberg report.
We don’t exactly know what these contracts entail since Amazon and Hachette have NDAs preventing them from discussing the details. That makes it hard to attribute the blame here. But if Amazon’s fight with Hachette is any indication of the company’s reaction, it could have major implications for the book publishing industry in general — regardless of whose fault it is.
It seems unlikely that Amazon would want to give the cold shoulder to three of the five major book publishers. Such a decision would probably come with a massive backlash from consumers and may end up hurting Amazon in the long run. At the same time, Amazon might be able to survive any potential backlash, but book publishers might not be able to weather the loss of revenue. Hachette, for instance, just announced a major round of layoffs it attributes to its spat with Amazon.
Amazon said in an earlier statement to its customers that it doesn’t expect to resolve its situation with Hachette any time soon. But if two more book publishers also end up fighting with Amazon over contracts, it could lead to a quicker resolution.