Amazon.com plans to allow publishers to nominate
books for recommendation to the online retailer's customers, and to
charge the publishers as much as $10,000 for each title that gets
Previously, Amazon's book editors were solely responsible for
choosing the recommendations, which are sent to customers via
e-mail. In the new system, books nominated by publishers would be
reviewed by the editors, who would make the final decisions.
Publishers of the selected books would be charged a fee.
Amazon says it will still recommend titles whose publishers have
not paid a fee. Those recommendations would likely be for expected
best sellers and books by well-known authors, as well as other
titles that Amazon's editors consider noteworthy.
The new system, reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal,
was seen as a possible source of confusion for customers, who may
be uncertain of what is an editorial endorsement and what is a paid
In addition to the new fee, publishers would be required to buy
promotional slots on the Web site, pushing the cost as high as
$17,000 per book.
Amazon spokeswoman Kristin Schaefer told the Journal that the
new fee for the e-mail program is simply an extension of an
existing Amazon policy, under which it accepts placement fees in
exchange for better exposure on its site.