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Has Amazon taken discounting too far?

In the wake of poor holiday sales in brick-and-mortar bookstores in the U.S. and the U.K., Internet retailers are being accused of coming by their simultaneous sales success unfairly, via overzealous discounting. As reported by The Bookseller:

Kes Nielsen, head of book buying at Amazon.co.uk, denied that internet retailers, who had discounted some titles by more than 60% in the run-up to Christmas, were solely responsible for declining average selling price. He said: “I don’t think you can single out a particular channel as in some way leading the charge [for discounting]. It’s a very competitive environment and everybody is doing their bit to offer value and that’s what we are doing as well.”

There’s nothing new about online retailers squeezing margins, of course, but it looks like Amazon in particular might have finally taken it too far:

Nielsen refused to comment on its ongoing dispute with Hachette over terms. The impasse, over the level of discounting Amazon receives, has led to the retailer removing some “Buy New” buttons when displaying Hachette’s key titles. Despite this, Hachette-imprint Orion’s A Quiet Belief in Angels was Amazon.co.uk’s number 10 bestseller for 2008.