Amazon.com came under fire yesterday for charging publishers as much as $10,000 per title to recommend certain books to customers via e-mail, according to news reports.
While a Reuters report referred to the new policy as an extra charge for publishers, Amazon spokeswoman Kristin Schaefer said publishers will not be paying more than usual for recommendations.
“We have extended our co-op [placement] program [from the site only] to make co-op placements also available in targeted customer communications,” she said.
Fees to pay for e-mail recommendations would be pulled from each publisher's pool of funds already set aside for the year and will not be an extra charge, Schaefer said.
Schaefer disputed critics' charge that Amazon customers could be confused about whether the recommendations are paid ads or unbiased reviews from its editors.
“The editors will be unbiased,” she said. “That's why they [reviews] have to go through an editor, rather than the manager of a co-op program.”
In addition, a publisher paying for the recommendation of a title does not guarantee that the title will be recommended, she said.