Amazon Official Says Feud With Hachette Is In The “Long-Term Interest Of Our Customers”

Apparently, removing preorders and delaying the shipping of books from a publishing company you’re feuding with isn’t a big deal if you happen to be the top online retailer. That’s pretty much how one official with Amazon describes the e-tailer’s recent tactics in negotiating with Hachette Publishing Group.

Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of Kindle content, defended the company against criticism that its actions were an attempt to bully the publisher into new contractual terms for e-book pricing and how to split earning from books, The Wall Street Journal Reports.

About three months ago Amazon began delaying the shipping orders and pulled the pre-order option for certain Hachette authors in the United States and for Bonnier Media Group books in Germany.

Just last week, the German Publishing Association filed a complaint accusing Amazon of antitrust violations for their actions.

Still, Grandinetti implied on Tuesday that the company’s actions were made “in the long-term interest of our customers.”

“This discussion is all about e-book pricing,” he said. “The terms under which we trade will determine how good the prices are that we can offer consumers.”

Grandinetti indicated the retailer was willing to suffer some damage to its reputation over the recent feud. However, some industry insiders contend this situation, as well as the company’s similar feud with Warner Home Video, could come back to haunt the e-tailer more than just in the pocketbook.

Although, Amazon presumably doesn’t care that much about missing out on the money it could be making off the Hachette items, as it has millions of other books and movies — not to mention appliances, music, food, tools, and mini-tanks — that it can still sell.

In fact, the retailer gave customer’s its blessing to shop elsewhere. And other book dealers and sellers have been more than happy to fill the void by offering consumers’ favorite Hachette published authors, such as J.K. Rowling, at some pretty steep discounts.

Shortly after the feud entered its third week, Walmart began offering 40% off of nearly 400 Hachette books and promised speedy delivery of current titles. Over at Barnes & Noble, customers could also receive up to 40% off certain Hachette produced books.

Grandinetti wouldn’t comment on how negotiations were going between Amazon and Hachette.

This isn’t Amazon’s first attempt to strong-arm publishers. In 2010, the retailer briefly removed the “buy” button from Macmillian published books. That same year, the e-tailer lowered the prices on Penguin hardcovers to $9.99 when the publisher refused to budge on e-book pricing.

“We were fighting for what we thought was right for consumers, and the same is true here,” Grandinetti tells the WSJ.

Amazon Defends Its Stance Against Hachette [The Wall Street Journal]

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