The ongoing terms negotiation between Amazon and HarperCollins in the US has been reported by Business Insider, the online newspaper that counts Amazon founder Jeff Bezos among its investors.
The piece, headlined “A major publisher may withdraw all its books from Amazon”, notes that HarperCollins is refusing to sign a new terms agreement with Amazon, even though it has been offered the same terms as those agreed to by Hachette Book Group USA, Simon & Schuster Inc, and Macmillan US. According to an anonymous source, if an agreement is not reached “very soon” no print or digital HarperCollins books will be available on Amazon once its current contract runs out.
In a rare public statement, an Amazon spokesperson told the newspaper, “I can’t comment on that rumour. I can say that we have offered Harper the same terms for a contract that Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan have all recently agreed to.”
Despite its headline, Business Insider does not say whether it is Amazon or HarperCollins which is threatening to withdraw books from sale. In past disputes Amazon has removed buy buttons from publisher’s titles during periods when terms have been under discussion: in its very public 2014 negotiation with Hachette Book Group USA, Amazon removed pre-order buttons from some Hachette titles and delayed shipping. It was widely criticised by some authors for doing so.
Save the newly combined Penguin Random House, HarperCollins is the last of the original agency-publishers to negotiate new terms with Amazon following the ending of the Department of Justice mandated contracts. Its discussions may be complicated by the fact that last summer, HarperCollins launched new websites in the US and UK selling books direct.
An Amazon spokesperson referred The Bookseller to the statement given to Business Insider. HarperCollins US said it did not comment on terms discussions.