Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Hometown Paper Criticizes Amazon On Changed Academic Discounts and Modest Philanthropy

The Seattle Times offers up two slabs of red meat for those who worry about Amazon's growing power and how they wield it in introducing a four-part series on the company. The lengthy business piece includes only these two morsels of news: academic and nonfiction publisher McFarland and professional and academic publisher Berkshire Publishing Group have also declined to accept Amazon's push for moving academic publishers from their traditional short discount to more of a trade discount schedule.
McFarland, which appears to use the Advantage program, declined to accept a proposed 45 percent discount as of January 1. (The publisher straddles academic and trade worlds; their primary subject areas are pop culture, sports, military history and transportation.) The company says they continue to fulfill orders on their "standard" terms, however, so for now nothing has actually changed. Director of sales and marketing Karl-Heinz Roseman says "if that changed, we'd simply not fill their orders and insist they get our books from a third-party wholesaler." McFarland says Amazon comprised 70 percent of their retail sales, but only 15 percent of their overall business
Similarly, Berkshire House president Karen Christensen indicates Amazon e-mailed in December asking for more discount beyond the current 40 percent off. "She refused, and Amazon stopped placing orders, affecting 10 percent of her business."

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