Amazon, Hachette Reach Multiyear Deal To End Months-Long Feud Over E-Book Pricing

The months-long standoff between Amazon and book publisher Hachette appears to have reached a ceasefire with the groups signing a multiyear contract.

The New York Times reports that the companies resolved their differences, bringing an official end to a dispute over e-book sales that involved such tactics as the e-tailer removing preorders, and delaying the shipping of books from the publishing company.

While both companies say they are happy with the terms of the new contract, most of the details were kept under wraps.

However, Hachette reportedly did receive the ability to set the prices on its e-books – the major issue driving the dispute.

“This is great news for writers,” Michael Pietsch, Hachette’s chief executive, tells the Times. “The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”

Officials with Amazon say they are “pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike.”

According to the Times, things aren’t quite back to normal at Amazon yet, with many Hachette books still showing shipping delays as of early Thursday.

The feud between Amazon and Hachette, the fourth largest publisher in the United States, began earlier this year, progressively becoming more hostile.

The public ordeal began back in May when Amazon began pulling pre-order options from upcoming Hachette titles and discouraging the purchase of the publisher’s books by cutting discounts, taking weeks to ship, suggesting other books to consumers and increasing the discount of e-book versions.

Several months later authors joined the fight reporting they had lost as much as 90% of their book sales since the dispute began.

The writers formed a group, Authors United, sending letters to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and individual members of Amazon’s board asking them to end the standoff. Additionally, the groups were in the process of drafting a letter to the Justice Department asking it to examine Amazon for possible anti-trust issues.

While the group first consisted of only Hachette-published authors, in September authors from other publishing houses and the estates of many well-known authors joined the fight.

Amazon and Hachette Resolve Dispute [The New York Times]