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Obama becomes publishing world “divider”

U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama is at the center of a burgeoning publishing world brouhaha, with Barnes & Noble on one side and Amazon.com on the other. According to the Associated Press:

Chelsea Green Publishing, a small, liberal publisher based in Vermont, is releasing Robert Kuttner’s Obama’s Challenge, a call for Obama to enact a bold, progressive economic agenda. It plans to distribute copies at next week’s Democratic National Convention, where Obama is expected to get the party’s presidential nomination.

Angering both Barnes & Noble and independent sellers, the publisher also will distribute coupons that can be redeemed exclusively through Amazon.com’s BookSurge, a “print-on-demand” service that through digital technology enables books to be printed in small quantities.


The biggest response came from Barnes & Noble, which had ordered several thousand copies. It told Chelsea Green it would not stock Obama’s Challenge, but only make it available through special orders or its website.

Chelsea Green restricted the book’s availability by giving one company a two-week exclusive, Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said Monday.

“Our initial order was based on the book being available to all booksellers simultaneously “ an even playing field,” she said.