Could Amazon & Penguin Random House Be Headed For A Hachette-Level Feud?

Almost exactly a year after Amazon and book publisher Hachette entered a very public feud over an e-book pricing dispute, the mega online retailer is reportedly on the cusp of engaging in a new battle with the world’s largest book publisher, Penguin Random House.

The Guardian, citing industry sources, reports that Amazon and Penguin Random House are in a dispute over the terms of a new contract for online book sales.

Penguin Random House is reportedly the only one of the “big five” publishers that hasn’t renewed its contract with Amazon to sell titles online. Booksellers magazine reports that the negotiation dispute centers on the pricing model in which publishers get to set the consumer price of e-books, while retailers take a commission.

Any feud between Amazon, the top seller for books online, and Penguin Random House, which publishes about 15,000 books a year, would be costly for both sides, industry insiders tell the Guardian.

Representatives for both Amazon and Penguin Random House played down any potential feud, saying the companies were in the midst of negotiations.

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to specifically address the issues with Penguin, but said the retailer has a long-term deal in place already with the four other major publishers – including Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster – and would welcome a similar deal with Penguin Random House.

Likewise, a spokeswoman for Penguin Random House says the publisher is in continuous conversations with Amazon.

“We have no intention whatsoever of ceasing to sell our print or digital titles on Amazon,” she said. “We want our books to be accessible and available everywhere.”

However, the Guardian reports that if the two entities fail to reach a deal, Amazon could freeze pre-orders and slow delivery of the publisher’s titles, a move that occurred during the months-long battle with Hachette in 2014.

Additionally, insiders say that the publisher could flex its own muscle by removing its titles from Amazon.

Amazon and Penguin Random House said to be in dispute [The Guardian]

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