Hachette’s spat with Amazon affects more than 5,000 books, publisher says

Image Credit: via Amazon

Major book publisher Hachette has responded to comments from online retail giant Amazon, which recently started making the publisher’s books much less appealing to customers.

Amazon and Hachette failed to negotiate a new contract with better terms for Amazon back in April. As a result, Amazon has stopped accepting preorders for Hachette books, removed those books from its recommendations, and more. And in a statement posted to its customer forums yesterday, Amazon said it doesn’t expect a resolution with Hachette any time soon and lamented the effect the dispute is having on authors.

Now, Hachette is claiming these actions have affected more than 5,000 of its books, the publisher told Publishers Lunch.

“By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not,” Hachette stated.

Hachette also responded to Amazon’s offer of setting aside a fund to compensate authors on royalties to help mitigate some of their financial woes as a result of the dispute, saying, “Once we have reached … an agreement, we will be happy to discuss with Amazon its ideas about compensating authors for the damage its demand for improved terms may have done them and to pass along any payments it considers appropriate.”

At least both sides are acknowledging the negative effects this situation is having on creators, which (as the music industry has taught us) rarely happens.

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Virginie Grange
Virginie Grange

At the end of the day Authors and consumers get the bad end of the stick which should not be what Amazon and Hachette be proud of. Playing the game of who is the strongest never leads to good deals and Amazon and Hachette should know better. It looks like they should both go back to the drawing table and tackle their negotiations with a better spirit. Taking each other hostage is not good practice at the end!