Amazon’s Scary Proposal to Publishers May Affect Book Quality

While the Amazon/Hachette dispute continues in the US, word is coming out of the UK about a similar Amazon/publisher showdown. There’s a noticeable lack of actual sources cited, but one bookselling website reports:

Amazon logo

Along with improved discounts on wholesale contracts, Amazon has introduced a number of new clauses in publisher contracts. One causing particular worry is a proviso that should a book be out of stock from the publisher, Amazon would be entitled to supply its own copies to customers via its print-on-demand facilities.

As someone picky about quality, I hate this idea. The POD books I’ve seen are immediately distinguishable as such, with various details that I don’t care for (such as less solid-feeling binding, more generic sizing and title stock, paper quality issues). If a seller is going to substitute a product I consider inferior without telling me that’s what they’re doing, I’m — Folgers Crystals ads aside — going to be upset.

I suppose someone who just wants to read the content, and/or someone who destroys the books they read (a quality I don’t understand — some of my favorites look untouched), won’t care. They just want to get the product quickly. But part of the reason Amazon has been so successful is that every book is the same, so you can choose to buy based on price, convenience, or service, since the product is interchangeable. This policy would change that.

Then again, that nature also allows those who are unhappy with Amazon to shop elsewhere easily.


One Response to “Amazon’s Scary Proposal to Publishers May Affect Book Quality”

  1. bottleHeD Says:

    As long as it’s done with the publisher’s consent, and is very, very clearly marked as such so the consumer can make an informed choice, this might be good for older, out-of-print titles.




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