"Although publishers fear seeing their titles disappear from Amazon—for many in the industry the retailer accounts for 20% to 25% of their business—some say the demands the retailer is making are impossible to meet and would nearly wipe out all of their profits there anyway. Furthermore, as some have noted, changing wholesale terms with Amazon, could present a legal issue. Although co-op deals can be varied and private, publishers are prevented by the Robinson-Patman Act from favoring one account over another with notably different wholesale terms. (It was the broad discrepancy in discount terms among accounts that led the ABA to sue Barnes & Noble and Borders in the 1990s.)"
"Unlike the other big companies that symbolize our times—Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft—Amazon did not rise to power by inventing a new product or service. It came to power by systematically taking down an entire existing industry… .
Nobody completely trusts Amazon. There is a degree of social isolation it suffers in the corporate landscape. Customers, suppliers, affiliates, partners — everybody has learned to be on their guard when dealing with Amazon. Nobody ever enters a relationship with Amazon with wholehearted enthusiasm. Only with a certain reluctance. You deal with Amazon mostly because you have to, not because you want to.”
Over the course of the next decade, Amazon pushed standard discounts to 52–55 percent, with some as high as 60 percent. In contrast, bookstores—even the chains—get discounts that usually top out around 50 percent. That small margin can mean the difference between surviving another day or folding, particularly for a publisher doing modest print runs… . The sale of a twenty-dollar hardcover nets a large publisher about ten dollars. Royalties run the publisher about three dollars, and the costs of printing, binding, and paper are a further two dollars (more for low-volume titles). Take $1.20 for distribution, two dollars for marketing, and that leaves a publisher with roughly $1.80 to cover rent, editing, and any other costs. A smaller publisher might keep closer to a dollar per book… . Cheap books are easy on our wallets, but behind the scenes publishers large and small have been deeply undercut by the rise of large retailers and predatory pricing schemes. Unless publishers push back, Amazon will take the logic of the chains to its conclusion. Then publishers and readers will finally know what happens when you sell a book like it’s a can of soup.