Amazon joins Hachette in a war of words, offers to help pay authors for lost royalties.
Amazon has finally commented on its nasty falling out with Hachette, which has seen the retailer reduce its stocks of the publisher’s books and refuse to take pre-orders for upcoming releases.
The message? This is just business, and if you don’t like it, you can take your business elsewhere.
“When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers,” Amazon wrote in a forum post. “Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term.”
Amazon didn’t get into details on the disagreement, which has to do with the price of e-books, but the retailer said it affects roughly 1.1 percent of orders. Amazon says that’s a “small percentage,” but it’s not so tiny when you consider the vast array of products that Amazon sells, from toys to furniture to clothing.
Still, if you’re displeased with Amazon’s decision to play hardball with Hachette, you do have a choice: “If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors,” Amazon said.
And just to smooth things over with affected authors, Amazon says it will fund 50 percent of an “author pool” to help offset lost royalties if Hachette agrees to pay the other half.