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Hachette v Amazon

Authors published by the Hachette Group were recently sent a letter by Tim Hely Hutchinson, the Group Chief Executive, briefing them about a dispute with Amazon over terms.  Amazon has been pressing, once again, to increase the discount that it receives; Hachette is determined to resist making further concessions. 

In order to bring pressure to bear on Hachette, Amazon has been removing the ‘buy button’ from some books and also taking some titles out of promotional positions. Authors are very concerned that they will be losing sales as a result of the hostile action by Amazon.

Tim Hely Hutchinson made a persuasive case for standing firm.  Discounts to booksellers have been increasing by 1% per year over the last 10 years and this has had a major impact on authors’ royalties.

As seems to be company policy, Amazon has been remarkably uncommunicative, so it is impossible to assess the merits of its arguments (which presumably are linked to the much larger discounts available to supermarkets).

Most authors and agents seem to be firmly supporting Hachette and are critical of the aggressive tactics adopted by Amazon.  As happened in Amazon’s recent dispute with Bloomsbury, the books of certain authors are being targeted by the online retailer as part of a battle over which authors have little influence other than by expressing their exasperation.

You can read more about this at The Bookseller website.