In the hyper-competitive market of book publishing, Amazon stands tall. While Barnes & Noble and Borders stood tall years ago, the online giant is the king of the hill.
Amazon has traditionally used its market power to wring generous concessions from publishers, often to the detriment of authors. The latest round of the publishing wars, however, has not gone as easily for Amazon. Hachette, the smallest of the “Big Five” publishers, is fighting back. The only question is whether or not Amazon’s responses to this resistance are legal.
Amazon is being accused of a bait and switch with its customers. Amazon is alleged to be charging more for Hachette books and suggesting to its users that they may actually enjoy books from other publishers instead. If a consumer is able to withstand this pushback and still opts to purchase a book published by Hachette, Amazon says it will delay delivery of the order.
There is little doubt that this dispute is headed toward litigation. How a vendor treats its supplier is a crucial element in a business relationship. This dispute is worth watching.