Hachette strikes deal with Amazon after contentious talks Print
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 05:05 PM America/New_York

New agreement means the Big Five publisher can set its own e-book prices, will be prominently featured

HachetteBookGroupHachette Book Group and Amazon announced Nov. 13 that the companies had reached a new, multi-year agreement for e-book and print sales in the U.S. Under the agreement, Hachette is able to set prices for its e-books sold through Amazon.

Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch was pleased with the long-term agreement after engaging for months with Amazon in a brutal battle that raised the ire of authors.

“This is great news for writers,” Pietsch said. “The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”

Amazon’s David Naggar, vice president, Kindle, said: “We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike.”

The new e-book terms will take effect early in 2015. Hachette will have responsibility for setting consumer prices of its e-books and also will benefit from better terms when it delivers lower prices for readers. Amazon and Hachette immediately resumed normal trading, and Hachette books will be prominently featured in promotions, according to Hachette’s statement on the matter.

During the dispute, more than 900 authors sided with Hachette in a letter posted at authorsunited.net. The authors’ letter to Amazon also appeared in a print ad in the New York Times, citing Amazon’s sanctions of Hachette titles that included “refusing preorders, delaying shipping, reducing discounting, and using pop-up windows to cover authors’ pages and redirect buyers to non-Hachette books.”

The authors said the sanctions had “driven down Hachette authors’ sales at amazon.com by at least 50 percent and in some cases as much as 90 percent.”

For its part, a letter from the Amazon books team on readersunited.com indicated that today’s e-books “compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.” —Johnson