I have sometimes tried to downplay Amazon's rough business tactics by pointing out that they are but one retailer among many, and weren't actually a monopoly or monopsony, but it looks like I may have been wrong in certain respects.
Publishers Lunch has discovered an internal investor's brief for Legardere, Hachette's parent company. The brief is an incomplete but an otherwise revealing look at Hachette Livre, Legardere's publishing division, including its operations in the US, Spain, UK, France, and elsewhere.
Among other details, the brief tells us that digital made up 10% of Hachette Livre's overall revenues in 2013, and around 30% of revenues in the US in 2013.
While the whole brief is worth reading for the useful insider info it reveals, what caught my eye today was one slide in particular. This doc doesn't tell us the breakdown of Hachette's print sales, but it does reveal that Amazon represents an uncomfortably large share of Hachette's ebook sales in the US and UK. And it gives is a clue just how much control Amazon has over Hachette.
If you click the image you will see that Amazon accounts for around 60% of Hachette's digital revenues in the US and 78% of digital revenues in the UK:
I was surprised on two counts when I saw this slide. I wasn't expecting Barnes & Noble to represent such a large share of Hachette's revenues in the US, and I wasn't expecting to see Amazon monopolizing ebook sales in the UK.
Due to B&N's declining digital sales, I was expecting that Apple had replaced them as the second largest ebook retailer in the US. Clearly in the case of Hachette that hasn't happened. Furthermore, even though there have been hints that Amazon dominated UK ebook sales, I had no clue that Amazon was effectively a monopoly (for Hachette, at least).
On a related note, that slide focuses on just the 2 markets because the rest of the markets where Hachette Livre operates have negligible ebook sales. It's only in the US and UK that ebooks make up 30% and 27%, respectively.
So was anyone else surprised to see Amazon's share of the UK market?
I know that a 79% figure had been floating around, but I hadn't found it plausible. That may have been an error on my part.