Amazon Escalates the Attack Against Hachette

Amazon has moved from discouraging customers from buying books published by Hatchette (AKA Hachette Livre, including Hachette, Grand Central Publishing, Little, Brown and Company, Orbit), to removing books from sale; you may remember that on January 29, 2010 Amazon pulled all of Macmillan’s books from sale—two days after Apple announced the iPad and the iBooks bookstore. In response, John Sargent of Macmillan announced the adoption of an agency model.

The New York Times “Bits” blog notes:

Amazon, under fire in much of the literary community for energetically discouraging customers from buying books from the publisher Hachette, has abruptly escalated the battle.

The retailer began refusing orders late Thursday for coming Hachette books, including J.K. Rowling’s new novel. The paperback edition of Brad Stone’s “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” — a book Amazon disliked so much it denounced it — is suddenly listed as “unavailable.”

James Patterson has weighed in in a post titled “Read Four of the Most Important Paragraphs I’ll Ever Write“:

The press doesn’t seem to consider this newsworthy, but there is a war going on between Amazon and book publishers. . . . There are other significant issues people might want to consider. Currently, Amazon is making it difficult to order many books from Little, Brown and Grand Central, which affects readers of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, me, and hundreds of others whose living depends on book sales. What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers. It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of authors.

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She plays o' the viol-de-gamboys, speaks three or four languages word for word without book, hath all the good gifts of nature, knows a hawk from a handsaw, and can see a church by daylight. The rest is subject to fancy.

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