Amazon are being accused of ‘bullying’ by UK publishers after their latest round of contract negotiations were found to contain highly advantageous clauses.
The online retail giant has demanded the right to print its own books if publishers can’t provide adequate stock. They also want publishers to match any pricing deals that Amazon offers to other distributors.
The newly added clauses were first reported by trade magazine, The Bookseller, who warned Amazon that their terms would ‘destroy the industry’.
Amazon have so far refused to comment on the situation.
One of the biggest concerns is that Amazon would start to use “print-on-demand” equipment, which is known for producing an inferior quality product,
Publishers are worried that this would be picked up by consumers and blamed on them instead of Amazon.
Another clause, known in the industry as a “most favoured nation” (MFN) proposal, asks publishers not to offer promotions to distributors without also offering them to Amazon.
Industry bosses have warned that this clause could bring Amazon under the spotlight in Brussels, as it would fall foul of EU competition rules.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, told the BBC that it would kill the industry if the terms were agreed, but it was a lose-lose situation for small publishers, even so.
“The worst thing that could happen [to book publishers] would be for Amazon to go away The second worst thing would be for it to become more dominant.”