DCMS 'hopes for agreement' in Amazon/HBG dispute

DCMS 'hopes for agreement' in Amazon/HBG dispute

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has told The Bookseller it hopes Amazon and Hachette Book Group (HBG) can “reach an agreement which supports the growth of the publishing industry”.

The two companies have been locked in a dispute over terms, which became public in May. Delays in the delivery of some HBG titles ordered on Amazon.com and the removal of the pre-order button from some books on the site has led to public protest and counter-protest by the e-tailer, HBG and authors who say they are being punished by Amazon's tactics in the dispute.

A number of British authors, including Philip Pullman, Sophie Hannah, Mark Haddon and Lee Child, are among those who signed a petition by writers' group Authors United calling on Amazon to end its dispute to with HBG “without hurting authors and without blocking or otherwise delaying the sale of books to its customers”.

Last week the French culture minister Aurélie Filippetti called Amazon’s dispute with Hachette, owned by French company Lagardere, an “unacceptable attack on access to books”. Filipetti also pledged her support to the Authors United letter.

Separately this week the German minister for culture and media, Monika Grütters, welcomed a campaign by German-language authors accusing Amazon of manipulating recommended reading lists and availability of books as part of the retailer’s dispute with the Bonnier Group.
A request for comment from UK culture secretary Sajid Javid on the dispute as it affects the UK produced this response from a spokesperson at the DCMS: “The Department is aware of this case and hopes both parties can reach an agreement which supports the growth of the publishing industry and helps ensure the greatest possible access to creative content.”