The story of Amazon removing IPG clients’ ebooks from sale spread quickly yesterday. Among additional details, IPG president Mark Suchomel told Crain’s Chicago and the WSJ that ebooks comprise less than 10 percent of the distributor’s revenues. And he told the Chicago Tribune “that the e-books sold through Amazon’s Kindle tablet account for about 5 percent of the company’s business.” (Their lists are not particularly deep in leading ebook categories like popular fiction and romance.)
According to IPG’s website, they had 4,444 titles available in Kindle format. Their EPUB title count is about 500 titles lower, hence Suchomel’s exhortation to clients in his e-mail: “Make available all electronic titles in all versions other than Kindle. Get those last remaining titles into electronic format so that the businesses that do support your titles can start selling them as soon as possible. IPG’s digital team can help you.” (They offer almost 32,000 titles in trade paperback, and almost 11,000 in hardcover.)
Then late last night, the New York newspaper with a full-time Amazon reporter weighed in as if no one had written about the story yet. They got agent (and former bookseller) Andy Ross “on the record” many hours after he posted a comment at PublishersMarketplace and came up with the striking observation that pulled IPG listed on Amazon include “a button to click to tell the publisher you would like to read the book on Kindle.” That’s big-time journalism for you.
Suchomel makes clear to the paper, “We’re not going to go back to them and say we changed our mind.”