Amazon China Closes Paper Book Section In Favor of Ebooks

Visitors walk past a logo for Amazon China. CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Since July 1, Amazon China no longer sells its own paper books, and third party paper books will also be taken down from shelves starting July 18.

Although this is just another step in shutting down Amazon China businesses, cross-border e-commerce and Kindle digital books will not be influenced.

“Kindle is loved by our Chinese customers,” said Amazon China, “We will provide more and more high-quality content and services, including Kindle ebooks, Kindle Unlimited and Prime books.”

They also said sellers who want to cooperate with Amazon and expand into a global market can contact Amazon China’s global store team for help.

The paper book section vulnerability shouldn’t come as a surprise, because Amazon’s e-commerce is not growing as expected. E-commerce and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have been the two main revenue sources for Amazon. Although they both maintain a certain growth rate, the e-commerce is slowing down with a quarterly increase of 10 percent.

It is also no surprise that Amazon China has been cut down by the main company. The China branch’s operations have not been an individual section in Amazon’s annual report since 2014. “We have organized our operations into three segments: North America, International, and Amazon Web Services (“AWS”),” as Amazon’s 2018 annual report showed.

The company is worried that regional laws and regulations may harm their businesses. Their 2018 annual report said that “The People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and India regulate Amazon’s and its affiliates’ businesses and operations in country through regulations and license requirements that may restrict foreign investment in and operation of the Internet…”

Local government interference and lack of funding also bothers the company. “In addition, our Chinese and Indian businesses and operations may be unable to continue to operate if we or our affiliates are unable to access sufficient funding or in China enforce contractual relationships with respect to management and control of such businesses,” Amazon stated in their annual report 2018.

The company even concluded that it is costly to establish, develop, and maintain international operations and stores. “Our international operations may not be profitable on a sustained basis.”