Amazon, which sells more books than every other seller combined, isn’t afraid to push publishers around to get what it wants.
Earlier this year, the ecommerce giant removed pre-order buttons, increased shipping times, and reduced discounts on books published by the Hachette Book Group as part of a contract dispute between the two companies. Beyond working to the detriment of Hachette, this hurts customers who, at least on paper, have always been Amazon’s number one priority.
As the world’s top book seller, severing ties with Amazon might be seen as nothing short of suicidal for publishers. But as Business Insider reports, at least one publisher who removing its titles from Amazon is doing better than ever.
The Educational Development Corporation (EDC), whose flagship book is “Everybody Poops,” saw revenues in July go up 28 percent over the same month last year. Its first quarter revenues were up 20 percent over the first quarter of 2013.
EDC’s CEO Randall White told the outlet that his company broke things off with Amazon in 2012 because, despite selling more books to Amazon than ever before, its business was declining. It was not an easy choice. EDC was making $ 2 million annually through Amazon.
But the gambit, which also involved cutting ties with Costco, Target, and Sam’s Club, paid off, both for EDC and for independent booksellers like Mary Arnold Toys which is one of the thousands of smaller outlets that carry the publisher’s titles.
“They were ecstatic,” White tells Business Insider. “They called, they blogged, they rallied. We made up that $ 2 million loss that first year, and this year set a record.”
So will this lead to a mass exodus of publishers from Amazon?
Probably not. EDC is much smaller than Hachette, and has fewer big name celebrity authors in its stable who could threaten to remove all their titles if a publisher threatens to leave Amazon. In this sense, EDC has far more autonomy. But it’s a valuable lesson that, depending on your business model, you don’t need Amazon (or Spotify or iTunes) to reach your audience and make a buck.
As for Amazon, this shows that if it continues to use what publishers perceive to be unfair negotiation tactics, it may find its status as “The Everything Store” slipping more and more.
[illustration by Hallie Bateman]