On Thursday, the new bestseller list arrived at the offices of Hachette Book Group with good news: One of the publisher’s books, T.D. Jakes’s “Instinct,” had vaulted to the No. 1 spot.
But the bad news was that anyone trying to order the book on Amazon.com on Friday got a message saying that it “usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks,” far slower than the fast delivery on which Amazon prides itself.
Hachette, which owns Little, Brown; Hyperion; and Grand Central, says that Amazon is deliberately slowing sales of Hachette’s books in an effort to pressure the French publisher into agreeing to new contract terms on book pricing. Hachette says there is no shortage of the books.
“We are satisfying all Amazon’s orders promptly,” Hachette said in a statement last week. “Amazon is holding minimal stock and restocking some of HBG’s books slowly, causing ‘available 2-4 weeks’ messages, for reasons of their own.”
Amazon, whose chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post, would not comment for this article.
The dispute takes place amid a long-running battle between ever more dominant book retailers and big publishing houses over control of the future shape of the $15 billion book industry.
SOURCE: Steven Mufson
The Washington Post