October 21, 2014
Publisher Simon & Schuster announced yesterday that it has negotiated a multiyear agreement with Amazon for print and electronic books. According to a letter signed by CEO Carolyn Reidy, the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from e-book sales.” The letter also indicates that the contract gives control of e-book pricing to Simon & Schuster, “with some limited exceptions.”
“Those two issues — pricing and profit margins — are at the heart of a long-running confrontation between Amazon and another major publisher, Hachette,” reports The New York Times. “While the publisher did not explicitly say the deal maintained its own share of income, a source with knowledge of the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly pronounced the publisher happy with the terms.”
“Our new deal assures that your books will be continuously available for sale at this major retailer through this year’s holiday book buying season and well beyond,” Reidy wrote.
NYT explains: “Amazon and Hachette began negotiating, or failing to negotiate, at the beginning of the year. By spring, Amazon was hindering sales of new Hachette books. By summer, Hachette writers had risen in opposition. Now they, joined by non-Hachette writers, are calling for an antitrust investigation of Amazon.”
Amazon reportedly wants to increase its revenue share of e-book sales in addition to lowering the cost of e-books. Some publishers fear the negotiations could result in a new standard that may diminish their roles in the process.
While the Hachette negotiations have been dragging on all year, Business Insider reports that the Simon & Schuster deal only took three weeks to negotiate.