Amazon has been known to play hardball when it comes to contract negotiations, and Hachette is the latest publishing house to feel its fury.The New York Times reports that Amazon has abruptly stopped taking orders for upcoming Hachette books, sometimes delaying shipment by as much as five weeks. In some instances, the online retailer has gone so far as recommending customers purchase other books, rather than those from Hachette.
According to the article, Amazon has also removed promotional material for Hachette books so consumers can no longer preview them. Likewise, some consumers have found only the audio edition of certain Hachette books, excluding both the physical and Kindle copies. Among the Hachette books being allegedly blocked is famed author J.K. Rowling's new novel, The Silkworm (authored under the pen name of Robert Galbraith).
The dispute, which leaves authors caught in the middle, boils down to control. Amazon, which analysts estimate accounts for half of all book sales, wants Hachette to offer them a bigger discount, thus giving the online retailer more control over how it prices Hachette books. Hachette, on the other hand, isn't willing to give up control and see its books priced at a more uniform price of $9.99. However, should Amazon win, the savings would be passed on to consumers who would then see cheaper pricing on Hachette books.
This isn't the first time Amazon has played hardball with a publisher, and chances are it won't be the last. But as consumers, do you think this a childish move on Amazon's behalf or is Hachette getting what it deserves? Let us know in the comments below.