Hachette accuses Amazon of holding books & culture hostage

Hachette accuses Amazon of holding books & culture hostage

Escalating ongoing dispute over contract terms, book publisher Hachette on Wednesday accused online retailer Amazon of holding books and the culture hostage.

Hachette, the publisher of titles by a number of renowned authors like J. K. Rowling, said in a statement that Amazon mistook books as any other consumer good.

Criticizing the online retailer, the publisher said, "Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not."

The publisher added that there were many considerations besides money. It said authors were not only concerned about royalties but also about their readers, career, culture, entertainment and connection.

On the other hand, Amazon took a nothing-to-see-here approach. It said the interruption affected only a small percentage of its demand-weighted units.

The lambasting comments of the publisher, whose roots can be traced as back as 1837, came after Amazon restricted the sale of some titled published by it. A number of Hachette authors' titles have been removed from the online retailer's website and authors like J. K. Rowling have had their online pre-order buttons removed. The tech giant restricted the titles following a disagreement with the publisher.

Amazon's controversial move prompted many to accuse the retailer of misusing its dominant position in the online retail market. Amazon controls a majority of global online book market. The dispute originated from a failed negotiation over e-books. Amazon is trying to slash the amount it pays to Hachette, while Hachette is not ready to accept any cut in its share.

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