updated 05:15 pm EDT, Sun May 27, 2012
IPG giving up profits to authors to make up for lost earnings
A contract negotiation dispute with Amazon in February that resulted in the removal of 5,000 titles from Independent Publishers Group(IPG) has finally been resolved following negotiations between the two, and most of the books have now been made available for Kindle again. No details on the new deal have been provided. IPG has offered to give up its own share of the sales revenue on the returned titles through the end of August to help make up for author's lost revenue.
IPG President Mark Suchomel said in February that Amazon proposed new terms that were "substantially changed" from the previous terms, and the new deal would result in lower revenue for content authors. A counter-offer by Suchomel was rebuffed, and Amazon pulled the e-book versions of the titles. Physical copies of the removed books were not removed from sale. A spot check by Electronista on 40 previously removed titles shows 23 have returned to the store, and 17 remain to be re-added.
Amazon has been accused by authors, publishers and even former Apple CEO Steve Jobs of pressuring content providers to take less revenue, using removal of the providers' books from the Kindle library as a bargaining chip since it is the single most popular e-bookstore. In an e-mail to a reticent publishing house prior while Apple was securing cooperation prior to the launch of its own iBookstore, Jobs pointed out that publishers had the option of sticking with Amazon (which had 90 percent of the e-book market at the time) and said "you will make a bit more money in the short term, but in the medium term Amazon will tell you [it] will be paying you 70 percent of $9.99. They have shareholders too."
The Department of Justice filed suit last month against five publishers plus Apple for partnering to break Amazon's monopoly. Three publishers have settled with the Department of Justice, leaving Macmillan, Penguin and Apple involved in the suit.