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Amazon and Hachette End E-Book Feud With New Contract


Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Amazon and the book publisher Hachette have reached an agreement on a new multi-year contract, they announced on Thursday, bringing an end to a fierce, months-long battle over e-book pricing.

The two companies did not reveal details of the deal, but both said in a press statement that they were pleased with the agreement.

On the surface, the deal appears to be a win for Hachette, which will set prices for its electronic books sold through Amazon. But Amazon is offering “financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices,” Kindle exec David Naggar said in a statement.

The battle between the two companies erupted publicly in May when Hachette told the New York Times that many of its books were listed as out of stock on Amazon or showing delayed shipping times. Amazon also stopped offering preorders for many Hachette books.

In a new deal, Amazon wanted to lower e-book pricing and also take a bigger cut of sales. In July, it said it would be willing to accept its same 30 percent cut of sales if Hachette lowered e-book prices. Hundreds of prominent authors — including Stephen King and John Grisham — banded together in a group called Authors United to urge Amazon to end the feud. The group, led by thriller author Douglas Preston, even took out an ad in the New York Times to protest Amazon’s tactics and ask readers to email Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with complaints.

Amazon made its own case to readers, saying, “If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against … other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.”

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