The issues at the heart of the roughly month-long pricing debate between Amazon and “Big Five” book publisher Hachette could broader than previously thought.
New York Times reporter James Stewart spoke to a source involved on the Hachette side of the feud who said Amazon wants to start charging Hachette for a variety of services, like a pre-order button on upcoming books, personalised recommedations, and having an employee at Amazon dedicated working with Hachette’s books. Previous reports had pegged disagreements on e-book pricing as the main reason for the escalated debate.
These demands are similar to co-op arrangements publishers make with retailers like Barnes and Noble, where the publisher will strike a deal to get their book featured at the front of the store, which is often prime real estate. The issue here, though, seems to be that Hachette believes those demands could spiral out of control.
“They’re teasing out all these layers and saying, ‘If you want that service, you’ll have to pay for it,'” Stewart’s source said. “In the end, it’s very hard to know what you’d be paying.”
For almost a month, Amazon has removed the pre-order buttons for many Hachette books, tweaked its recommendations to feature non-Hachette titles, and ordered fewer copies of certain books, which caused shipping delays.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.