Since the summer, many publishers have reported lower orders from Amazon compared to a year ago, and the release of the e-commerce giant’s third-quarter results gave no indication that things will markedly improve in the final period. In the mountain of data released by Amazon, the numbers that struck analysts the most was its forecast that sales in the final quarter will increase 2% to 8% over last year, sluggish growth by Amazon’s standards. The projection for the quarter was the main factor in leading to a decline in Amazon’s stock price from $110.96 per share Thursday to $100 a share when the market opened Friday morning.

In the third quarter ending September 30, 2022, total sales increased 15%, to $127.1 billion, and online sales rose 7%, to $53.5 billion.

In the press release announcing the results, CEO Andy Jassy said: “We’re also encouraged by the steady progress we’re making on lowering costs in our stores fulfillment network and have a set of initiatives that we’re methodically working through that we believe will yield a stronger cost structure for the business moving forward. There is obviously a lot happening in the macroeconomic environment, and we’ll balance our investments to be more streamlined without compromising our key long-term, strategic bets.”

Publishers have theorized that Amazon’s attention to cutting costs is one reason book orders have been lower this year as the company works through the inventory it has on hand from when it was ordering books in huge numbers to meet the increase in demand during the pandemic, while also ordering new titles in more modest numbers.