Hmmmm, Amazon is doing interesting things… again.
Amazon turned off the buy buttons on big-six publishers’ Kindle books for several hours on Thursday night. The problem, which is now resolved, apparently only affected ebooks from big-six pubs, and Amazon described it as a “technical issue.”
This is a bit troubling considering Amazon’s track record of putting its vendors in their place and using their muscle to get terms they want. But if it’s a tech glitch, it’s just that. But wow, what an interesting development.
The problem began around 10:30 p.m. ET and seemed to affect only ebooks published by Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Hachette.
Buttons were restored. However:
It is odd that, apparently, only big-six titles were affected. Some wondered if the problem was associated with agency pricing — were only publishers who set their own ebook prices affected? But that doesn’t make sense for a couple of reasons: HarperCollins reached new agreements with Amazon (and other ebook retailers) in September, following the approval of the DOJ’s settlement with HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster. Amazon has been discounting HarperCollins titles since then. And self-published authors set their own ebook prices through Amazon’s KDP, but those books weren’t affected, either.
I’m sure more information is forthcoming. In the mean time, Here’s the link.