Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger shared with the New York Times that he had had his sequel book, After Friday Night Lights, pulled by Amazon after it was chosen by Starbucks as a Pick of the Week and given away through Apple’s iBookstore for free through redemption codes. Amazon’s automatic price check forced the Kindle price to zero, leaving online publisher Byliner.com no choice but to pull the book if it didn’t want Bissinger to lose money and jeopardize the Starbucks deal.
The book should be back on May 1, once the Starbucks promo ends. While Byliner had been concerned the price drop might happen, it hadn’t counted on a redemption code-based transaction setting off an automatic price cut.
Bissinger’s experience underscored the consequences of a “most favored nation” clause in effect at not just Amazon but Apple as well. By each requiring that their own stores get the best possible price, it creates difficulties for any company that tries to offer a sale, even if through codes that don’t affect all users or the regular price. Amazon’s lack of similar promos technically prevents the reverse from being common, but Apple would likely require discounting the price if a publisher tried a similar deal for Kindle users.