Amazon has finally delivered a full defence of its actions against book publisher Hachette.
Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s SVP of Kindle content, told the Wall Street Journal that Amazon is acting “in the long-term interest of our customers.”
If you’ll recall, at the end of May, news broke that Amazon was preventing pre-orders of certain books from Hachette. It was also raising prices on certain Hachette books, and it was pushing consumers to buy books from Hachette’s rivals.
Nobody really knew why Amazon was doing this, but it led to a big uproar in the press.
Farhad Manjoo, who is typically reserved and level headed, wrote at the New York Times, “Amazon is confirming its critics’ worst fears and it is an ugly spectacle to behold.” Manjoo espoused the conventional viewpoint that Amazon was being a bully against Hachette.
The Journal says the dispute between the two companies comes down to revenue sharing and promotion. Amazon wants more revenue from e-books. Hachette doesn’t want to give up more money because it will cut in to its profits.
While the uproar was going on, Amazon was pretty much silent. Now it’s speaking up.
“This discussion is all about e-book pricing,” Grandinetti tells the Journal. “The terms under which we trade will determine how good the prices are that we can offer consumers.”
It’s unclear when this ends, but the fact that Amazon is speaking up suggests it could go for on for a while. Amazon had been losing the public relations war. Now it’s trying to win.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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