Amazon’s “Buy Button” Policy Change Hurts Publishers and Authors

9 05 2017
An Open Letter from IBPA to the Indie Publishing Community:
Amazon’s “Buy Button” Policy Change Hurts Publishers and Authors
Dear Indie Publishing Community:On March 1, Amazon enacted a policy change that allows third-party sellers to compete for the Buy Box for books in “new condition.”

In case you’re not visualizing the Buy Box in your mind, it is this:

When you go to a product page on Amazon, the ADD TO CART Buy Box is the default offer. Other used options fall below the Buy Box. Where books are concerned, the default Buy Box has always belonged to the publisher. When you buy a book, Amazon pays the publisher 45% of the list price. This means your purchase is supporting the entity that published the book, namely the publisher, and authors are making a profit (albeit small) every time you buy because the publisher is paying an author royalty for each sale.

Now Amazon is giving that priority spot to third-party sellers, relegating the publisher button to a far less favorable position, below the landing page screen line, often last in a list of third-party sellers offering the book for a significantly lower cost in addition to free shipping.

The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) believes Amazon’s policy change, allowing third-party sellers to compete for the Buy Box for books in “new condition,” hurts authors and publishers.

Click here to read IBPA’s full explanation with scenarios.

IBPA will continue to research and monitor this situation and inform our members of any changes to the policy. In the meantime, we welcome reactions and additional scenarios in the comments section of the explanation linked above.

In Partnership,

— Angela Bole, IBPA CEO
— Peter Goodman, Publisher, Stone Bridge Press (IBPA Board Chair)
— Robert Price, Publisher, Price World Publishing (IBPA Board Treasurer)
— Elizabeth Turnbull, Senior Editor & Partner, Light Messages Publishing (IBPA Secretary)
— Brooke Warner, Publisher, She Writes Press (IBPA Board of Directors & Executive Committee)
— Ian Lamont, Founder, i30 Media (IBPA Board of Directors & Executive Committee)
— Leslie Browning, Founder & Senior Editor, Homebound Publications (IBPA Board of Directors)
— Robin Cutler, Director, IngramSpark (IBPA Board of Directors)
— Keith Garton, President & Publisher, Red Chair Press (IBPA Board of Directors)
— Shannon Okey, Publisher, Cooperative Press (IBPA Board of Directors)
— Karla Olson, Director, Patagonia Books (IBPA Board of Directors)
— Joshua Tallent, Director of Outreach & Education, Firebrand Technologies (IBPA Board of Directors)
— Mark Wesley, Owner, me+mi publishing (IBPA Board of Directors)

Copyright © 2017 Independent Book Publishers Association, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Independent Book Publishers Association
1020 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Suite 204
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
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