Amazon has stopped the sale of a variety of books from publishing house Hachette as their battle over revenue sharing continues brewing. While some books appear as "unavailable," others now show longer shipping times, and some books are missing their promoted pages. All pre-orders of Hachette are unavailable, including the upcoming book by J.K. Rowling (written as Robert Galbraith.) Pre-orders are vital for publishing houses looking to put books on best-seller lists.
The battle is both business and personal: Amazon is working to negotiate better terms with Hachette for the sale of e-books. They are also displeased with Brad Stone's "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon." In fact, Amazon was so unhappy with the book, they publicly denounced it. (As did Bezos's wife.) It is one of the books that is now listed as "unavailable."
While Amazon might have been unhappy with one particular Hachette book, the pressure they are now applying seems more of a business tactic than hard feelings over one book. Amazon used a similar tactic with publishers like Bonnier and Macmillan when they were negotiating an e-book deal.
Many authors are now lashing out against Amazon. The company is not responding, as they aim to cause turmoil between Hachette and their authors directly. Quite frankly, it might just work. While authors are loyal to their publishing houses, Amazon can make their lives (and paychecks) quite unpleasant. As for whether or not this is the "right" thing to do, business is business. Amazon is the biggest bookseller for a reason and will use that power to their advantage. I wouldn't expect to see The Everything Store back on sale until e-book terms are negotiated in Amazon's favor.
In the meantime, readers can buy Hachette books in book stores. They still have those, you know.
I will note that when I pre-order books from any publisher, including Hachette, my local independent bookstore is happy to take my order.— John Scalzi (@scalzi) May 23, 2014
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.