Hachette US 'seeks solution' to Amazon dispute

Hachette US 'seeks solution' to Amazon dispute

Hachette Book Group in the US has said it is doing “everything in our power to find a solution” to its dispute with Amazon, which has seen the online retailer removing pre-order capabilities from a number of its key summer titles.

Last week Amazon in the US took away pre-order buttons from a number of Hachette’s forthcoming titles, including J K Rowling’s new Robert Galbraith novel The Silkworm, out in the US on 19th June, and Tom Rob Smith’s The Farm, released on 3rd June.

Titles remain listed as “currently unavailable” today, with customers offered the option of signing up to be emailed when the book is available. In addition, some as yet unpublished titles have not been given a Kindle page. Pre-ordering on Amazon.co.uk for Hachette UK titles has not been affected.

In a statement from the US company, reported by the Los Angeles Times, HBG spokeswoman Sophie Cottrell said: "We are doing everything in our power to find a solution to this difficult situation, one that best serves our authors and their work, and that preserves our ability to survive and thrive as a strong and author-centric publishing company."

Hachette Book Group’s c.e.o. Michael Pietsch echoed the wording in a letter to authors, in which he also said that it was “extremely encouraging to see our retail partners – thousands of chain, online and independent bookstores – showing their support for HBG and our authors”.

He told authors: “I know this is not a comfortable situation for most of you, and I appreciate your support and the many messages I’ve received.”

Writers including James Patterson and Jeffery Deaver have spoken out against Amazon’s tactics.

Earlier this month Hachette Book Group in the US accused Amazon of delaying delivery of some books, telling customers they would not be available for a number of weeks.

It was also revealed this weekend that Amazon routed £11bn through its Luxembourg office last year, where it has based its European operation.

The amount is up on the €11.9bn (£9.5bn) Amazon funnelled through its European head office in 2012, reported The Sunday Times.

The newspaper also reported that the online retailer also claimed a £4m rebate from the taxman in Luxembourg.

In 2013 the company only paid £4.2m in corporation tax in the UK, even though it generated sales here of £4.3bn.

The revelation, in the company’s accounts, led MP Margaret Hodge to say customers should “shop elsewhere”.