Amazon Pulls Hachette Books from its Site as E-book Pricing Battle Escalates

The paperback edition of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as “unavailable.” (Screenshot via Amazon)
The paperback edition of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as “unavailable.” (Screenshot via Amazon)

Amazon, under fire in much of the literary community for energetically discouraging customers from buying books from the publisher Hachette, has abruptly escalated the battle.

The retailer began refusing orders late Thursday for coming Hachette books, including J.K. Rowling’s new novel. The paperback edition of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as “unavailable.”

In some cases, even the pages promoting the books have disappeared. Anne Rivers Siddons’s new novel, “The Girls of August,” coming in July, no longer has a page for the physical book or even the Kindle edition. Only the audio edition is still being sold (for more than $60). Otherwise it is as if it did not exist.

The confrontation with Hachette has turned into the biggest display of Amazon’s dominance since it briefly stripped another publisher, Macmillan, of its “buy” buttons in 2010. It seems likely to encourage debate about the enormous power the company wields. No company in American history has exerted the control over the American book market — physical, digital and secondhand — that Amazon does.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment. A Hachette spokeswoman did not return a message for comment.

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SOURCE: DAVID STREITFELD 
The New York Times

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