Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has cut back orders of new Simon & Schuster titles — to “almost nothing” for some books — during an ongoing dispute over financial terms. Refusing to sell books is a new negotiating tactic for B&N, though not unheard of in the industry; Amazon.com famously removed “buy now” buttons from Macmillan titles during a dispute over terms. The refusal to stock S&S books will certainly hurt authors, particularly midlist and lesser-known writers. Some authors also claim the chain is taking other steps to pressure S&S, including refusing to display titles prominently and declining to host appearances from S&S authors.
While details on the exact nature of the disagreement remain confidential, insiders say that Barnes & Noble is trying to use its status as the last major retail book chain to gain more favorable terms, including steeper discounts on book prices and charging higher prices for co-op advertising and advantageous in-store placement.
For more, see the article in the New York Times.