Hachette Book Group (HBG) and Amazon have reached a new agreement on e-book and print sales in the US following a very public battle for public opinion.
The two companies made their disagreement public in May, when HBG accused Amazon of delaying deliveries of its books on purpose. Since then, thousands of HBG titles have been subject to delayed shipping and readers have been unable to pre-order books. HBG accused Amazon of seeking profit and bigger market share, while Amazon said its aim was to provide customers with e-books at lower prices.
The new multi-year agreement, announced in a joint statement by the two companies, will give HBG responsibility for setting consumer prices for its e-books but provide the publisher with "specific financial incentives" to keep that price low.
The agreement, which will take effect early in 2015, covers e-book and print sales in the US.
Amazon and HBG will now resume normal trading, with Hachette books being “prominently featured in promotions”, although some HBG titles - such as Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath and Preston and Lee Child’s The Lost Island - are currently still showing as being out of stock or subject to delays in delivery times.
HBG c.e.o. Michael Pietsch said: "This is great news for writers. The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.” David Naggar, v.p., Kindle, said: "We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike.”
Authors were pulled into the six-month long dispute, with prominent writers including James Patterson, John Green and Gladwell condemning Amazon.
American author Douglas Preston set up Authors United to petition Amazon to end the dispute, while Amazon set up its own campaign, titled Readers United. A number of prominent indie authors, including Hugh Howey and Barry Eisler, also stepped up to support Amazon, with their own public-wide counter-petition.
Preston told The Bookseller: "I'm relieved that Amazon and Hachette reached an agreement. I can only hope that, if disagreements arise in the future between Amazon and publishers, Amazon will never again seek to gain leverage by sanctioning books and hurting authors."