Authors Caught in the Crossfire of Hachette - Amazon War

The war between Amazon.com and Hachette publishing is escalating, reports The Washington Post. The two companies are believed to be negotiating the contract price for which Amazon will buy Hachette's books to make available to its customers. But negotiations are not going well and in the meantime Amazon has pulled the pre order links for upcoming Hachette Book Group titles, which include books from publishers Grand Central Publishing, Hyperion Books and Little, Brown & Co.

As of today, you cannot pre-order J.K. Rowling's (writing as Robert Galbraith) upcoming novel, The Silkworm which will be released on June 19th. Customers are invited to put their name on a list to be notified when the title is available. Hachette says that it has titles that are in stock, but Amazon is stretching delivery dates for Hachette titles up to five weeks. Hachette authors are telling journalists that the prices on their books have been raised and that some books have been dropped altogether.

Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch wrote a letter to its authors which said in part, "Please know that we are doing everything in our power to find a solution to this difficult situation, one that best serves our authors and their work, and that preserves our ability to survive and thrive as a strong and author-centric publishing company." Amazon has not commented on the allegations and neither side is allowed to discuss the details of pricing due to the antitrust ebook price fixing case.

It is perfectly normal for companies to urge their suppliers to give them better terms: this happens in all industries from grocery stores to physical book stores. But we hope they come to an agreement soon as the situation is putting authors -- and consumers -- in the crossfire. On the bright side, independent bookstores are featuring Hachette books and authors.

Posted on May 24, 2014

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