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Major online retailer Amazon has been accused of violating its business agreement with a major publisher and other book sellers.
Earlier, publisher Penguin Random House made book retailers sign an agreement to launch Margaret Atwood’s top-secret book, The Testaments, on the same release date. This book is the much-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, one of Atwood’s bestselling novels. The publisher requested that details about the book be strictly confidential until its official release on September 10, 2019. Usually, such an agreement is made to create a hype around a book’s release, which may help increase publishers’ profits.
However, exactly a week before the official release date, Amazon released around 800 copies of The Testaments. Independent book retailers were enraged because the incident could significantly affect their sales.
Amazon apologized and claimed that there was a technical error in its system that caused the books to be accidentally delivered to the customers in advance. An Amazon representative further stated that the company values its relationship with authors, book agents, and publishers, and expressed regret for the trouble that the incident may have caused to fellow retailers.
Book retailers, however, are not convinced with Amazon’s explanation for its blunder. Some smaller retailers are frustrated as they think that it is unlikely for a big retail company like Amazon to face any consequences for disregarding the agreement. Normally, retailers who go against similar business agreements face punishment by not being sent their book shipments on time.
The angered retailers complained and said that Penguin Random House should sanction Amazon for violating the agreement. In response, the publisher said that the incident was just a mistake that has now been corrected.