“New contracts are also said to include MFN clauses, whereby effectively books cannot be sold for a lower price than Amazon’s anywhere, including on a publisher’s own website. Amazon is also understood to want matching terms where a publisher enters into a new business arrangement, for example with a subscription service. Publishers told The Bookseller that MFN clauses had disappeared from contracts, but were now making a reappearance.
Another clause of particular note requires publishers to guarantee they have books in stock, allowing Amazon to do print-on-demand editions to customers – with extra terms benefits – should books be out of supply. The clause has echoes of a demand made in 2008 that small publishers use its POD service, with Amazon arguing at that time that it could “provide a better, more timely customer experience if the p.o.d. titles are printed inside our own fulfilment centres”. Publishers are worried that the clause would allow Amazon to effectively take over their stock-control.”