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The New York Times reports this morning that Amazon has begun discouraging customers from buying books published by Hachette Book Group, telling shoppers that they may have to wait weeks for the books - written by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Colbert, James Patterson and JD Salinger - to become available.

According to the story, Hachette says that the problem is at Amazon's end - that it is doing its best to keep the e-tailer supplied with books, but that Amazon "is determined to squeeze as much margin out of its suppliers as possible … For at least a decade, Amazon has not been shy about throwing its weight around with publishers, demanding bigger discounts and more time to pay its bills. When a publisher balked, it would withdraw the house’s titles from its recommendation algorithms."

Amazon did not comment on the story to the Times.
KC's View:
If true, and Amazon is squeezing publishers at the expense of its customers, then my question is what the hell happened to Amazon's customer-centric culture.

This is the kind of crap that can undermine a company's culture and subvert its relationship with shoppers. Even frequent shoppers. And can make it vulnerable to competition.

I have no problem with retailers pushing back against manufacturers that are looking for unreasonable increases. That's fine. But that doesn't sound like what is happening here.

The game has to be played with both fear and arrogance. Arrogance is fine, but only when it it tempered by fear.

Arrogance alone can be a first step to oblivion. Amazon should walk carefully.