Amazon built its reputation as an online book seller. Now, it's using its reputation - and considerable selling power - in a huge dispute with book publishers and suppliers. As always, we're caught in the middle.
Amazon in particular has it out for Hachette suppliers. Gizmodo reports that shipments are being delayed, prices are being inflated and some books are flat out unavailable.
The New York Times reports what's behind this situation:
The battle is being waged largely over physical books. In the United States, Amazon has been discouraging customers from buying titles from Hachette, the fourth-largest publisher by market share. Late Thursday, it escalated the dispute by making it impossible to order Hachette titles being issued this summer and fall. It is using some of the same tactics against the Bonnier Media Group in Germany.
Here's Gizmodo's list of recent books, their price on Amazon, their price on Barnes & Noble, and the difference.
As you can see, of two dozen books, only one was cheaper on Amazon - and only by 33 cents. The average difference between Amazon and Barnes and Noble in this example was an amazing $8.23.