Here’s something that you don’t see every day. There are now less ebooks for sale on Amazon than there were a few days ago. On Monday, Amazon stopped selling 4414 ebook titles from Independent Publishers Group over a pricing dispute.
IPG is one of the largest independent book distributors. They distribute for small and large independent publishers in the U.S. and internationally.
IPG has a statement titled “Kindle Update” on their site saying that “Amazon has decided not to offer our Kindle editions at this time. Our other electronic formats are available from booksellers nationwide.”. Amazon is no longer selling ebooks from IPG. Print books from IPG are still available at Amazon though.
Amazon is obviously trying to use their muscle to lower the prices of ebooks. This would benefit customers with lower prices and it would benefit Amazon as more people would buy ebooks and maybe Kindles. Of course, the publishers and the authors would have to take a big hit on their profits if the ebooks were priced lower.
This dispute represents a huge battle being fought in the overall ebook war. Amazon believes ebooks should be relatively inexpensive since there are no shipping, printing, or storage costs. Book publishers believe ebooks should cost about as much as print books. This is a huge disconnect.
Since the book publishers control access to all books you would think they would have the upper hand in the negotiations. However, Amazon is now selling more ebooks than they sell print books. They also have their own self-publishing platform, their own publishing arm, and a slew of Kindles out there. Add it all up and the book publishers need Amazon if they want to sell ebooks.
So this dispute is just another round of the Amazon-publishers arm wrestling match. The real question is who has the bigger muscles this time around.