Amazon has released its latest volley in its fight over ebook pricing, telling the publisher Hachette that it has its prices just right for the market.
Earlier this year Amazon revealed a ‘disruption' in its dealings with Hachette, and explained that it was taking in less inventory from the publisher.
"We are currently buying less (print) inventory and 'safety stock' on titles from the publisher Hachette than we ordinarily do, and are no longer taking pre-orders on titles whose publication dates are in the future," it said in May. "These changes are related to the contract and terms between Hachette and Amazon."
While the firm said it will still take books from the publisher it will only be when they are released and when customers have ordered them.
Amazon said that this is because the parties have not been able to agree on terms and pricing for ebooks. It explained that it deals with ‘thousands of publishers' but has failed in its discussions with Hachette.
"One of our important suppliers is Hachette, which is part of a $10bn media conglomerate. Unfortunately, despite much work from both sides, we have been unable to reach mutually acceptable agreement on terms. Hachette has operated in good faith and we admire the company and its executives," it said.
"Nevertheless, the two companies have so far failed to find a solution. Even more unfortunate, though, we remain hopeful and are working hard to come to a resolution as soon as possible, we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon."
Hachette responded to this, saying it could not see the reasoning behind the Amazon block and was determined to fight it. "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 recognises Amazon's importance as a retailer and innovator," it said.
"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 early July it returned to this explaining that Amazon had approached it, but that it has asked the firm to "withdraw the sanctions they have unilaterally imposed".
Now two months later Amazon has published an update on the situation, explaining that its pricing, and the money that it shares with the publisher is fair. It added that the financial problems of authors may be due to Hachette.
"While we believe 35 percent should go to the author and 35 percent to Hachette, the way this would actually work is that we would send 70 percent of the total revenue to Hachette, and they would decide how much to share with the author," it said. "We believe Hachette is sharing too small a portion with the author today, but ultimately that is not our call."
Hachette declined the opportunity to comment.
Instapaper to 'go dark' in Europe until it can work out GDPR compliance
James Robbins of ArrowXL says that AI is no longer 'tomorrow's technology'
Staff told to beware of "unusual sounds" after an employee reported mystery symptoms
Sophisticated malware comprises code previously used to attack Ukraine