Late last week, news came that HarperCollins Publishers were planning to challenge Amazon over the renewal of their contract with the book-selling monster. This past fall, after a fierce and public battle, the large publishing house, Hachette, won the right to set the prices for their books, rather than surrendering that right to Amazon. Some industry watchers believe that HarperCollins will pull all of their books from the Amazon web site if they are not able to strike a satisfactory deal for the new contract. If that should happen, it would significantly reduce the inventory of books available at Amazon, since HarperCollins is one of the world’s largest publishers. Readers of romance novels may, or may not, recognize the parent company name, but all of them will recognize Avon and Harlequin, both of which are currently owned by HarperCollins.
This could be bad news for Amazon, since HarperCollins is already set up to sell eBooks via their own web site and has made deals with both Scribd and Oyster. It has been suggested by some publishing experts that if HarperCollins does a new deal with Amazon, their terms will include access to the online bookseller’s customer data. Such information would be of tremendous value to the publisher, since it will give them more detailed profiles of those who are buying their books.
Should they gain access to that customer information, will HarperCollins use it not only to sell their books to consumers, but will they also use it to determine which books they will publish? Might they also use that same information to direct how the books they publish should be written? Which begs the question, will inspiration and craft be replaced by data sets provided to authors?
More details about the HarperCollins Publishers deal with Amazon can be found at these sources: