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Amazon Strongarms Small Publishers for Ad Dollars

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June 1-15, 2004 Edition

Amazon Strongarms

Small Publishers

for Ad Dollars

NEW YORK, NY/05/26/04—According to an article in Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com is pushing small publishers to contribute co-op advertising dollars in a manner that is being seen by some as an “utimatum,” or worse yet, “blackmail.”

Amazon’s new advertising contract makes some demands that could squeeze publishers who are already battling tight margins.

Some publishers say that if they don’t participate the could lose their partnership status, which means their books might not appear in merchandising and advertising programs, and might not be sold at attractive discounts to customers. It is possible Amazon also may turn off the search options to non participating publishers, meaning that the only way to find the title would be to input the full correct name or ISBN.

Amazon wants publishers to pay from 2 percent to 5 percent of net dollars earned from the e-tailer in 2003, intoa co-op ad fund. Publishers say that while Amazon has long had a co-op program, the new contract is considered heavy handed. One publisher even called the tactics “blackmail.”