Sat, Mar 31, 2001 EST
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Amazon Plans to Charge for Online Recommendations
Associated Press
NEW YORK — 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 recommended.

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 advertisement.

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.

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