Hachette Apologizes to Authors Caught in Amazon Dispute

Hachette Book Group apologized to its authors for a dispute with Amazon.com Inc. that prompted the online retailer to block pre-orders for some of the publisher’s forthcoming book releases.

“Please know that we are doing everything in our power to find a solution to this difficult situation, one that best serves our authors and their work, and that preserves our ability to survive and thrive as a strong and author-centric publishing company,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Pietsch said in a letter.

Disagreements between Seattle-based Amazon and publishers have centered on digital-book prices and a reluctance by some houses to replace physical copies of older books with online versions.

Megan Fitzpatrick, a Hachette spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to voice-mail and e-mail messages left after business hours. Craig Berman, an Amazon spokesman, declined to comment.

Hachette, a New York-based unit of French publisher Hachette Livre, includes Grand Central Publishing, Hyperion Books and Little, Brown & Co. Hachette Livre is a subsidiary of Lagardere SCA.

Among the books caught in the latest dispute is the “The Silkworm,” the new novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.