A publisher feud with Amazon just got the Colbert bump.

Last night, the soon-to-be host of the Tonight Show literally gave Jeff Bezos the middle finger over his company’s questionable tactics against the Hachette publishing company, which sells some of Colbert’s books.

“Watch out, Bezos,” said Colbert, “because this means war!”

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Amazon and Hachette are duking it out over contract negotiations, which have left both consumers and authors in the crossfire. For Hachette books, Amazon delayed shipments on some of their blockbuster authors (like J.K Rowling) and removed pre-order buttons.


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“It’s sort of heartbreaking when your partner turns on you,” author Malcolm Gladwell told the New York Times upon learning he was a bargaining chip in negotiations.

So, what’s the dispute about? Amazon controls more than 50 percent of the book retail market, so it can demand certain sales percentages.

“Amazon, for its part, made an offer to Hachette to fund 50 percent of an author pool to mitigate the impact on writer royalties,” explains Bloomberg. “Authors typically receive 25 percent of the publisher’s take on sales. If Amazon succeeds in getting a larger percentage of the retail price, that could mean lower fees for authors.”

Until the two figure out a deal, every one of their customers is a casualty. Our international readers can watch the video from Comedy Central below.


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