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Indigo and Books-a-Million join boycott of Amazon print titles

Canadian bookselling chain Indigo Books and Music and Books-a-Million have joined ranks with Barnes & Noble in refusing to sell Amazon-printed book titles in their stores.

Indigo’s vice-president Janet Eger accused the e-commerce giant of not acting in the best interests of readers and the wider industry as a whole by its business plan of entering into physical book publishing.

According to the Canadian Globe and Mail, Eger said in an email: “In our view Amazon's actions are not in the long-term interests of the reading public or the publishing and book retailing industry, globally.” She added: “Indigo founder and c.e.o Heather Reisman has congratulated Barnes & Noble for taking a leadership stance on the matter, and offers kudos.”

Books-a-Million also joined ranks with the companies in taking a stance against Amazon over the weekend.

According to Publishers Weekly, those books not stocked by BAM would include those published under Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s New Harvest imprint.

Last Thursday (1st February) B&N said it would not stock physical books published by Amazon.com's publishing division in its retail stores, citing the company’s "continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent", which has "undermined the industry as a whole".

In a statement, B&N chief merchandising officer Jaime Carey said: "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 e-books to our customers." Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content. 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."

This follows Amazon's new print licensing deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, announced last week, which will mean HMH will print and distribute all titles from Amazon's East Coast Group adult imprint.

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I don't blame them.

Amazon have been around for a long time and have always used tactics which are bad for the book business as a whole. But they have been able to do this because the publishers have let them. The way the publishers have lain down and allowed Kindle to dominate makes me despair.

And it was clearly in the publishers' interests to have plenty of outlets for their books, both online and bricks/mortar. Still they have sat back year after year, giving Amazon special terms while stores close.

Is it right that it wouldn't legally be possible for bookshops in the UK to refuse to sell Amazon books as it's not permitted to try to restrict trade for a specific company?

@Riccardo, I'm not sure if publishers have encouraged this or if it's a question of not being able to do much about it yet. I think things will change this year. Publishers do realise it's in their interest to build up a more competitive marketplace and to support ebooks for other ereaders. Publishers are criticised if online sellers undercut the price of their books and they're criticised if they set an agency price so this can't be done.

Bookstore chains have brought this upon themselves. They dragged their feet for two decades and allowed Amazon to become the powerhouse it is, while their own sales dwindled.

I don't blame them.

Amazon have been around for a long time and have always used tactics which are bad for the book business as a whole. But they have been able to do this because the publishers have let them. The way the publishers have lain down and allowed Kindle to dominate makes me despair.

And it was clearly in the publishers' interests to have plenty of outlets for their books, both online and bricks/mortar. Still they have sat back year after year, giving Amazon special terms while stores close.

Is it right that it wouldn't legally be possible for bookshops in the UK to refuse to sell Amazon books as it's not permitted to try to restrict trade for a specific company?

@Riccardo, I'm not sure if publishers have encouraged this or if it's a question of not being able to do much about it yet. I think things will change this year. Publishers do realise it's in their interest to build up a more competitive marketplace and to support ebooks for other ereaders. Publishers are criticised if online sellers undercut the price of their books and they're criticised if they set an agency price so this can't be done.

Bookstore chains have brought this upon themselves. They dragged their feet for two decades and allowed Amazon to become the powerhouse it is, while their own sales dwindled.