Publishers are breathing a sigh of relief after a weeks-long stretch of receiving low orders from Amazon came to an end this week, with several publishers telling PW that new orders far surpassed orders from the previous few weeks. “I am glad to report that we received a massive order the other night that makes up for the shortfall in November and then some,” said the CEO of an independent publisher.
Last week, a number of companies reported that since late October, orders from the e-tailer were running well below the comparable period in 2018, with one publisher saying orders were down by 75% two weeks in a row. The reason for the decline was not entirely clear. Some companies had been told the lower orders were made to ease congestion at the company’s distribution centers.
Sources told the IBPA that Amazon was loading up on big-ticket items ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a strategy that could indeed lead to congestion at Amazon's warehouses. Asked about the lower book orders last week, a representative from Amazon said that the company's teams and systems are always evaluating what they expect its customers want to buy and placing orders to its vendors to ensure that it has enough stock in inventory to meet its customers' needs.
Whatever the reason for the reduction in orders was, orders, publishers said, have definitely improved this week. “We’ve been flooded with orders that last two days,” the publisher at an indie house said Wednesday.
The president of another publisher who also reported getting stronger orders than in prior weeks didn’t think his company was out of the woods yet. “I just hope there are no snags with getting pickups and that orders stay strong through the next two weeks,” he said.