Top US/UK Trade Talk: Ex-HC CEO Friedman Raises $3 milliion; Amazon to Fine UK Publishers

In Global Trade Talk, News by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

In the US, former HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman has raised $3 million for a new venture called Open Road Integrated Media — a company few seem to know much about other than it will be involved in e-book marketing and promotion. The above video, in which Friedman is filmed in a recent conversation with former CEO and Chairman of the Time-Warner Book Group and now literary agent and founder of LKJ Literary Management, might offer a clue.

One day before will impose hefty new fines in Germany for non-compliance with the terms of its Vendor Manual and operational policies (read our coverage here), Amazon sent an email stating it will do the same in the UK — charging as much as £500 for “rejected deliveries,” according to The Bookseller. In coming months, the fines may also “include fees for other critical operational requirements.”

In the email (which The Bookseller says was riddled with spelling errors) Amazon justified the new fines by claiming they will help improve “operational efficiency,” thus allowing the company to keep prices down for customers.

As happened in Germany, British publishers are balking at the fine, going so far as to propose retaliating by charging Amazon a fine for every time they make a mistake.

Of course, on the surface, it merely looks like Amazon is bullying publishers — and it is — but the object of its intent is likely the myriad of small, even tiny, publishers who sell books on the site. It’s unlikely Amazon would have the presumption to try and fine HarperCollins for forgetting to put a packing slip into a box, but they might use the tactic to try and thin the ranks a bit of the self-published and low volume publishers whose paperwork takes nearly as long  to process (or even more time when it’s messed up) as the big guys.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.