Amazon wants to be Queen of the World (TM Titanic) and is miffed that publishers in the UK are encouraging consumers to buy directly from the publishers’ sites. To entice readers to buy direct, the publishers are undercutting the prices of the books available at Amazon. This makes perfect sense to me as Amazon gets some amount of the sale of a book whereby if the publisher sells it, it cuts out a middleman. Simon & Schuster does that with its ebooks. The ebooks used to be 40% off the retail price at Simonsays.com. Now I think the price is 35% but it is still cheaper to buy a S&S ebook at Simonsays.com than anywhere on the internet. Caveat: According to the commenters, it is cheaper at Books on Board.
Some publishers fear that Amazon will retaliate:
There are fears that Amazon may retaliate by regarding a publisher’s online price as the recommended retail price and applying its trading terms to that. If a publisher discounts a £20 book to £15 online and Amazon has a contract for a 50 per cent discount on the full price, Amazon would pay the company £7.50 instead of £10. Publishers say that this would be unfair and could ultimately drive up prices.
I think that would be a lovely suit in the US. I can just see it now. Amazon brings suit to raise prices. Angry at competition. ::Loffs::