May 29, 2012

IPG settles with Amazon, while the Big Six still don’t


Three months after having its ebooks removed from for refusing to give in to extortionate demands for a new contract (see the earlier MobyLives story), the Independent Publishers Group (IPG), a distributor of over 500 independent publishers, announced over the holiday that it had come to terms with the internet retailer and the ebooks of its clients would once again be for sale on Amazon.

According to a report from Publishers Weekly, IPG president Mark Suchomel made the announcement on Friday:

In a letter sent Friday to clients informing them of the deal and that Amazon was restoring their e-books to the Kindle store, Suchomel thanked publishers for their support and said that “I only regret that we weren’t able to make up for all of the lost revenue when your Kindle titles were not available.” To give a boost to its publishers, IPG will not take a distribution fee on Kindle sales on titles sold from June 1 through August 31, the letter said.

According to a Wall Street Journal report by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Suchomel would not discuss the terms, but a spokesperson for Amazon offered a rare comment on what had been a negative news story for them: “We’re pleased to reach agreement with IPG and we look forward to growing our business with them.”

Meanwhile, neither report noted that, six months into the year, none of the Big Six publishers have come to terms on a 2012 contract with Amazon, and thus are in exactly the same position IPG was in when Amazon pulled its ebooks. The warning from Amazon, rendering IPG’s publishers as sacrificial lambs, has apparently been otherwise meaningless.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives