Amazon suspends third-party seller book shipments to warehouses

Amazon suspends third-party seller book shipments to warehouses

Amazon has temporarily paused accepting shipments from third-party sellers to its warehouses for products including books owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

The online retailer is only accepting goods designated as household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand items which are running low.

Its restrictions, which affect US and EU marketplaces, have now come into force and will last until 5th April.

In a statement on its website, the company said it was taking a similar approach with retail vendors.

The firm added shipments created before 17th March would still be received.

A spokesman told The Bookseller: "We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritising household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfilment centres so we can more quickly receive, restock, and ship these products to customers.

"We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”

Orenda Books publisher Karen Sullivan described the announcement as “devastating” at a time when the book industry was more reliant than ever on online orders.

She said: “At a time when bookshops are likely to close, and it may be difficult to get stock to individual shops, when usual meetings with buyers at Waterstones, for example, will be curtailed and orders low or non-existent, we absolutely rely on this channel to continue to sell our books. They don’t hold a lot of our stock, and if there are no plans to reorder, it’s going make difficult times even more difficult. Obviously we would prefer our stock to go through the indies and other bricks and mortar shops, but not all of them are set up to get books in and out to customers and we have no idea what will happen to our own distribution network in the current climate. Obviously no one knows what is around the corner, but losing our key retailer at this point is not good news.

“As a small independent, much of our marketing takes place online and although we attempt to drive readers to Hive, Waterstones and individual independents, the truth is that many customers feel comfortable with the one-click, next-day delivery option that Amazon offers. This is going to affect our business dramatically.”