Hachette US: Amazon actions 'affect authors' lives'

Hachette US: Amazon actions 'affect authors' lives'

Hachette Book Group in the US has weighed in again in the very public discussion of its terms battle with Amazon, saying it “is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives”.

HBG's response came after the online retailer spoke out about its battle for terms in an online post. Amazon took to its Kindle forum on Tuesday (27th May) to say that it was “not optimistic” that its dispute with Hachette would be resolved soon but that it had offered to contribute to a financial "author pool" to help “mitigate the impact of this dispute on author royalties”. It was the first time Amazon had publicly acknowledged the US stand-off, which has seen Hachette Book Group titles facing delivery times of up to five weeks, with some key summer titles having pre-order buttons removed.

Hachette Book Group's response to Amazon's post, issued yesterday afternoon (28th), stated: "It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors' lives. For reasons of their own, Amazon has limited its customers' ability to buy more than 5,000 Hachette titles.

“Authors, with whom we at Hachette have been partners for nearly two centuries, engage in a complex and difficult mission to communicate with readers. In addition to royalties, they are concerned with audience, career, culture, education, art, entertainment, and connection.

“By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors' books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.”

Hachette said it would “spare no effort to resume business relations with Amazon”, which it called “a great partner for years”.

However, it said it wanted terms that “value appropriately for the years ahead the author's unique role in creating books, and the publisher's role in editing, marketing, and distributing them, at the same time that it recognises Amazon's importance as a retailer and innovator”.

Hachette said once it had reached an agreement with the retailer, it would be “happy” to discuss Amazon's offer of an "author pool".

“In the meantime, we are extremely grateful for the spontaneous outpouring of support we have received both privately and publicly from authors and agents,” Hachette continued. “We will continue to communicate with them promptly as this situation develops."