On Monday, IndieCommerce, a for-profit subsidiary of the American Booksellers Association, informed subscribing stores of a new policy regarding available inventory. Beginning this week, only publishers’ titles that are made available to retailers for sale in all available formats will be included in the IndieCommerce inventory database.
In an e-mail to its users, IndieCommerce explained:
This decision was made to support publishers committed to fostering a diverse and robust publishing industry — and to making books as widely available to consumers as possible — and in support of the bricks-and-mortar retail sales channel, which offers an essential — and unique — venue for discovering and marketing new titles of both established and debut authors.
All retailers using the IndieCommerce platform are free to stock any published books from any publisher in their stores and/or to fulfill any customer orders through another source. This policy change in no way affects that ability. Bookstores using IndieCommerce have the option of adding any title to their individual store’s online database and/or fulfilling orders through other means.
IndieCommerce said that it was instituting the policy change in response to Amazon.com’s plans to distribute its print catalog through conventional means while “it seems that they are simultaneously pursuing a strategy of locking in e-book exclusives, which other retailers are not allowed to sell. IndieCommerce believes that this is wrong, and that any book title for sale should be available to all retailers in the same formats and on the same basis.”
This week’s e-mail underscored, however, that “any IndieCommerce store that would like to list one or more of Amazon’s titles on [their] website may do so by creating the title as a custom product. This will also cause it to appear in the search with other books — but only on [their] store’s site.”