Amazon -Hachette Dispute Continues

In the ongoing dispute , Amazon has either pulled, raised prices on or refused to allow preorders on many books published by Hachette. The move, first reported by industry newsletter Publishers Lunch, comes as Hachette and Amazon are negotiating a new agreement governing terms under which Amazon will sell Hachette e-books. 

In the wake of the federal government's e-book antitrust pricing settlement with publishers, publishers supply e-books to retailers at a price set by the publishers but which retailers are able to discount. Retailers such as Amazon get a roughly 30% cut of the fixed price but any discounting reduces the retailers' actual take.

In the talks with Hachette, Amazon is seeking a higher percentage split, said an industry executive. The two sides haven't yet reached an agreement.

The backdrop to Amazon's push is that e-books generate much higher profit margins for publishers than print books, where the costs including paper, printing, binding, warehousing, shipping and returns. Bedi Singh, chief financial officer of News Corp, which owns HarperCollins Publishers and The Wall Street Journal, earlier this month told analysts that margins are around 75% for e-books, about 60% on paperbacks, and about 40% on hardcovers.

Internet giant Amazon has blocked orders of books from Hachette in response to contract disputes between the two. The move comes as there is growing discontent at the strict terms Amazon imposes on publishers.

The complicated relationship between Amazon and publishing houses was discussed in-depth last February in the New Yorker Article, Cheap Words.

Opinion from board member and Hachette author/illustrator Peter Brown

With all the sea changes in publishing, we will no doubt continue to see issues like this arise. The SCBWI hopes, on behalf of the creative community, that authors and book creators won't be penalized as these corporations  do battle with these policies.