Hachette Looks Like the Winner as Its War With Amazon Endsby
The publishing gazelle has escaped the e-commerce cheetah—at least for now.
Hachette Chief Executive Michael Pietsch announced that the book publisher has reached a new multiyear agreement with Amazon.com, ending months of contentious contract negotiations. The deal, which will cover print and e-book distribution, will begin next year. In the meantime, as Pietsch explained in an e-mail to authors and agents, Hachette titles “will be restored as soon as possible to normal availability on Amazon.”
Already, Hachette authors are cheering, because what’s known about the deal makes it look like a victory for the publisher. Under the new agreement, in Pietsch’s telling, Hachette will control e-book pricing and authors won’t give up any of their current e-book royalties to Amazon. Throughout the negotiations it was widely believed that Amazon was seeking to lower e-book prices and to collect a larger cut of the resulting royalties.
What, if any, concessions Amazon extracted from the negotiations is not immediately clear. Without revealing those details, Amazon released an upbeat statement of its own: “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,” wrote Amazon’s David Naggar in the statement.
From the start, Hachette largely dominated the public relations battle with help from high-profile authors publicly backing the book publisher and bashing Amazon.
The agreement, according to the New York Times, is similar to the multiyear distribution deal that was recently reached between Amazon and Simon & Schuster. While plenty of future challenges remain for the book publishing industry, on Thursday, Nov. 13, for the first time in ages, some of the more aggrieved members of the industry could be seen letting out a collective sigh of relief.