Amazon.com Inc. said it is “not optimistic” that a dispute with publisher Hachette Book Group will be resolved soon and added that it is acting “on behalf of customers.”
The comments, which Amazon made yesterday in an online post, are the first extensive remarks by the world’s largest online retailer about its skirmish with Hachette over digital-book prices.
In its post, Amazon said the dispute with Hachette affects only a “small percentage” of its merchandise and said it had offered to Hachette to fund 50 percent of an author pool to mitigate the impact on writer royalties.
See Also: Amazon Doesn’t Expect Quick Resolution to Hachette Dispute (Wall St. Journal via Google Cache)
Amazon suggested customers seek out Hachette titles being sold through its namesake website by other merchants, “or from one of our competitors.”
UPDATE Full Text of Comments Hachette Shared With infoDOCKET and Other News Outlets in Response to Amazon’s Comments
It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives. For reasons of their own, Amazon has limited its customers’ ability to buy more than 5,000 Hachette titles.
Authors, with whom we at Hachette have been partners for nearly two centuries, engage in a complex and difficult mission to communicate with readers. In addition to royalties, they are concerned with audience, career, culture, education, art, entertainment, and connection. By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.
We will spare no effort to resume normal business relations with Amazon—which has been a great partner for years—but under terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them, at the same time that it recognizes Amazon’s importance as a retailer and innovator. Once we have reached such an agreement, we will be happy to discuss with Amazon its ideas about compensating authors for the damage its demand for improved terms may have done them, and to pass along any payments it considers appropriate.
In the meantime, we are extremely grateful for the spontaneous outpouring of support we have received both privately and publicly from authors and agents. We will continue to communicate with them promptly as this situation develops.