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Booksellers Protest Amazon’s ‘Don’t Undercut Us’ Requirement

Publishers’ share of e-reader takings isn’t the only point of contention in the book industry at present.

Independent booksellers are complaining about a new Amazon.co.uk stipulation that would compel them not to undercut the site elsewhere online.

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Marketplace, which lets indies sell new or used products, introduced a new “price parity” clause in its sellers’ participation agreement on Wednesday, trying to ensure “prices and other terms on Amazon.co.uk are as good as (or better than) those found on other shopping channels”.

Some traders, backed by the Booksellers Association, have complained to the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) antitrust authority, according to news reports (Scotsman.com, TheBookSeller). The OFT tells paidContent:UK it cannot confirm, under the Enterprise Act, whether complaints have been received. No formal inquiries have been launched.

Independent booksellers are already being squeezed by larger chains like Waterstones.

One anonymous trader tells Scotsman.com: “Amazon is attempting to stop me and other sellers deciding what price we sell at on different sites. This despite the fact that it costs us less to list on some other sites. For some time, I have been offering books on my own website at 10 percent less than I sell on Amazon and on other sites, partly because there is no commission to pay on my own site and partly to drive traffic to my site.

There’s a simple solution for traders who don’t like it. “Sellers who are not willing to offer parity should remove their listings,” according to Amazon.co.uk’s new policy.

One Response to “Booksellers Protest Amazon’s ‘Don’t Undercut Us’ Requirement”

  1. I can’t see a problem with it to be honest. I’ve been selling on Amazon for a while – they take a comission and a monthly fee, however on my own site I have to pay hosting fees, development time and bank charges. What’s the difference? Well Amazon have a much higher virtual footfall for one thing. If I had a physical store, it would cost me more to be in a busy shopping centre than it would on a deserted back road.
    That Amazon don’t want you to offer a product on another site for less, is protecting their interests, and also the consumer. You *are* allowed to include your own marketting material with packages you ship to Amazon customers, including discount codes for future orders on your own website.