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Publishers Get Wise, Undercut Amazon prices

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 Now I think the price is 35% but it is still cheaper to buy a S&S ebook at 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::

Via TimesOnline.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Fiordiligi
    May 02, 2008 @ 16:21:44

    Several times I wanted to buy some ebooks from the SimonSays website, but they always slapped an additional tax onto the final ebook price (I assume because I don’t live in the United States), so that in the end the ebook was more expensive than say from BoB. What a shame.

  2. (Jān)
    May 02, 2008 @ 17:02:52

    But isn’t Amazon trying to screw the publishers over by insisting that only their Kindle format be sold there? Oh well. You reap what you sow.

  3. Ann Bruce
    May 02, 2008 @ 18:19:31

    they always slapped an additional tax onto the final ebook price (I assume because I don't live in the United States)

    Actually, if you live outside the US, they shouldn’t be adding any sales tax. I buy from US sites all the time and I only pay the retail price. Tax only gets added for customers residing in the state where the business is based. Or am I wrong?

  4. Fiordiligi
    May 03, 2008 @ 12:50:30

    Well, my Visa Card is registered to an European country, and they sure as hell do add tax. This is the only site btw. where that ever happened *shrug*.

  5. Meriam
    May 04, 2008 @ 13:29:39

    This is great news. I’ve been in a bit of a quandry this past month, unwilling to buy from Amazon after the recent mess with Reba et al. 90% of my book buys are from Amazon so I’ve been sitting on my hands, wondering what to do.

    I’ve never noticed the tax… (must double check the receipts).

  6. Melani
    May 05, 2008 @ 09:17:44

    I ran into the same problem as Fiordiligi. Definitely cheaper to buy from BooksOnBoard (eBooks and Audio Books at BoB). I think most sites don’t add sales taxes, but I could be wrong…

  7. Jane
    May 05, 2008 @ 09:24:08

    That’s good information to know, you guys. Thanks.

  8. ardeatine
    Oct 18, 2009 @ 11:43:03

    It’s standard to add VAT (value added tax) for any purchase from the European Union.

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