Two years ago, Hachette, one of the world’s largest publishers, whose books include Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, insisted that Amazon sell its ebooks under an ‘agency’ agreement. This meant that Hachette, rather than Amazon, would be allowed to determine the price of its books. Amazon didn’t like the idea and, for several days, took Hachette books off its site.
Amazon.com has branded James Baldwin'sGiovanni's Room, Gore Vidal'sThe City and the Pillar, Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and thousands of other books with gay characters as 'adult' – and not in the sense that Virginia Woolf had in mind when she said Middlemarch was 'one of the few English novels written for grown-up people'. One consequence of this is that they don't get to have a 'sales rank', so they can't appear near the top of bestseller lists, so people are less likely to see them and buy them.