30 Jan

Is Amazon refusing to sell Kindle versions of Macmillan books as a strong arm tactic?

A few hours ago John Scalzi pointed out on his twitter feed and blog that his books were unavailable for Kindle download, and that other books seemed affected. I logged onto Amazon to check this out, and found out my novels were also affected, and no longer for sale.

Like John I saw no need to jump to conclusions. We’ve had Amazon trip up on technical glitches before. It’s also just after 5pm on a Friday, and that’s usually when programs and database uploads are run. Amazon’s last bad PR moment festered because everyone left for the weekend, the problem wasn’t addressed, giving the old intarwebs plenty of time to create a feedback loop of assuming the worst and spreading the news.

I tabled this for a ‘check back Monday.’

But now the NY Times claims that this is Amazon.com playing hardball with a publisher to try and force it to sell books at a certain price point that it wants.

Keep in mind, I’m still somewhat dubious. This occurred Friday evening. The NY Times article says Amazon ‘refused to comment.’ But by the time people were noticing this was down, typical office hours were already over. So this could be a journalist calling after hours, getting no response, and adding in a juicy angle by hyping the ‘no response’ article when its not really surprising that no one responded: they’re gone for the weekend.

That being said. The timing is horrible, if it’s a glitch. Just after the iPad came out, and one of the companies identified as having books available for it. This is very curious.

If Amazon is doing this… well, you’ll see words here.