Amazon underbidder on frontlist auction

Amazon has emerged as the surprise underbidder on a multi-million dollar auction for a self-published author, the first time the retailer is believed to have bid on frontlist.

Crains reports the retailer was the highest bidder in the auction for self-published author Amanda Hocking. The auction was eventually won by St Martin's Press. Amazon is believed to have teamed up with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for it to publish print books. The article claims it was Amazon's insistence on exclusive e-book rights that was a factor for Hocking to choose St Martin's Press.

A publishing executive familiar with the deal told Crains: "[Amazon] has less than 65% share of the e-book market and dropping, and 20% to 30% of the print market . . . [The author and agent] would have anticipated significant lost sales."

Hocking is a self-published phenomenon, selling more than a million copies of her paranormal romance titles. She has previously published nine titles.