retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that as much as Amazon has dominated the bookselling business over the past two decades, it also is making a move to expand its footprint as a book publisher - signing up bestselling novelists Dean Koontz and Patricia Cornwell to deals that will have it publishing their new novels.

One challenge - traditional bookstores generally boycott Amazon-published books, but both Koontz and Cornwell believe that its superior reach and marketing ability will compensate for a lack of a physical presence.

Koontz's first book under the Amazon contract, "Nameless," comes out on March 31. Cornwell's first Amazon-published book, "Quantum," came out last October and reportedly sold well despite lousy reviews - though the sales apparently skewed more to digital downloads and audio books and away from hardcover sales.

There could be a change, though - the new owners of Barnes & Noble have suggested that any boycott of Amazon-published books could come to an end.

Reuters reports that "India ordered an investigation of Inc and Walmart’s Flipkart on Monday over alleged violations of competition law in the latest setback for U.S. e-commerce giants operating in the country.

"The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it was ordering a wider probe following a review of allegations that Amazon and Flipkart were promoting some 'preferred sellers' and in turn hurting business for other, smaller sellers."

Both retailers said they were confident that they were in compliance with local laws.
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