Based on the latest salvo in Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)’s ongoing battle with book publishers, it doesn’t look like the Internet titan and the e-book industry will be reaching a resolution to their dispute anytime in the near future. Amazon announced last week that it was beginning to block pre-orders of new books from the Hachette Book Group. The company provided further details in a blog post on Tuesday, writing that it was also buying less inventory from Hachette.
The publishing industry, and especially the e-book industry, has been under pressure the last couple of years as price competition has thinned the revenue to be split between publishers, authors and distributors. Just a couple of months ago, the five biggest publishers settled a lawsuit against Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) alleging e-book price fixing. There is also a related lawsuit against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but that suit has not been settled.
Ongoing PR battle
The current situation is really an ongoing PR war with both Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the publishing industry jockeying for position. Amazon has long claimed its interests are aligned with those of customers in seeking to keep book prices as low as possible.
“When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers,” Amazon elaborated in yesterday’s 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.”
The publishing industry claims that it is representing the interests of authors and the pubic and also wants to keep book prices affordable, but pay authors fairly for their valuable creative works.
Amazon’s small sop to authors
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) did see fit to throw a bone to the authors who will be losing income due to the dispute with the publishers. The company suggested creating a pool of funds for authors who lost income due to the dispute to be jointly funded by Amazon and Hachette.