Amazon Publishing books won't be found at Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble won't carry print books from Amazon's new print publisher, according to reports that surfaced today. The news may signal a growing division between the online retailer and the nation's largest brick-and-mortar bookseller.
The word came from Brad Stone, who recently wrote Businessweek's cover story on Amazon Publishing and its head, publishing veteran Larry Kirschbaum. Calling this "a declaration of war," Stone posted an excerpt of an email from Jaime Carey, Barnes & Noble's chief merchandizing officer, On Google+.
"Barnes & Noble has made a decision not to stock Amazon published titles in our store showrooms. Our decision is based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent. These exclusives have prohibited us from offering certain eBooks to our customers," Carey wrote. In addition to exclusive deals Amazon has announced with specific authors, in December it launched KDP Select, a way for authors to participate in an unusually structured Kindle lending library and payment pool, as long as their e-books remained exclusive to Amazon.
"Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content," Carey continued. "It’s clear to us that Amazon has proven they would not be a good publishing partner to Barnes & Noble as they continue to pull content off the market for their own self interest."
Amazon has partnered with one traditional publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which has agreed to distribute the print editions of Amazon Publishing's books through its New Harvest imprint. Those books, too, would not be welcome at Barnes & Noble, the publishing industry newsletter Publishers Marketplace confirmed.
Carey concluded, "We don’t get many requests for Amazon titles, but If customers wish to buy Amazon titles from us, we will make them available only online at bn.com." This points to something Californians became aware of last year: Amazon is exempt from paying sales tax because it has no retail establishment in the state. The California Legislature passed a bill mandating that the retail giant collect taxes; Amazon retaliated by threatening to launch a ballot initiative to repeal it (even canvassing in front of brick-and-mortar bookstores), and the two sides came to an agreement postponing the sales tax mandate.
Amazon has been publishing books for some time through small imprints based in Seattle. Its New York imprint, with Kirschbaum at the head, seeks to move into the same territory as traditional publishers, with high-profile signings of James Franco, Tim Ferriss, Penny Marshall and Deepak Chopra.
But it will have to figure out how to get those books into people's hands.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: A Barnes & Noble store in Coral Gables, Fla. Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images