Why does Amazon have to force publishers to treat their high-end products so that they can actually be sold to people? Well, God forbid the publishers produce saleable goods!
Seriously, read this and marvel: "One frustrated publisher said, 'Isn't it Amazon's problem if their customers want their gift book [sic] in each individual box? Isn't their problem [sic] to deal with?'"
Wow. If you are wondering how far publishers have removed themselves from their readers, read that again. It's Amazon's problem that they can't sell what you sold them? Because once Amazon pays the publisher the wholesale price for that book, well, hey, everything's finished. There's no additional step past the wholesale level of sales--Amazon mints money itself for no other purpose than to hand it over to publishers.
There's certainly no reader involved in this, no consumer who shells out $150 for a beautiful-looking art book only to receive one that looks like it got jumped after school for its lunch money. Seriously, have these idiots ever purchased anything on the high end? Have they seen how expensive purses get treated so that they have no nicks or scratches? When people shell out for luxury goods--especially a gift or something to ornament a living room--they want something that doesn't look like it got run over by a truck.
(I mean, come on. Why did I stop shopping at The World's Worst Barnes & Noble? Because the books were damaged. It astonished and infuriated me that they would sell damaged good for full price. I wondered if any of them had ever actually bought anything before, ever. You don't walk into a clothing store and see a bunch of shredded clothes on the rack, do you?)
Of course it is, in fact, Amazon's problem that it can't sell these goods, which is why Amazon is going to kick these particular publishers in the crotch until they give Amazon a product that it can actually get paid for. And how publishers respond? By calling up a reporter and whining about how much their balls hurt! Because that's how business partners resolve a business dispute, especially when the dispute arises from the fact that you are making it so your partner can't turn a profit.
Honestly, who are these clowns? Are they 12 years old? Have they never gone shopping? Is this their first foray into business? Capitalism? I cannot--I mean, my mouth is literally hanging open as I struggle in vain to understand what they hell they are thinking.
And these are the experts who will save you from the pit of self-publishing....