New Details Come to Light on HarperCollins Negotiations With Amazon

15328904230_33ceb2f052_nNew details have come to light concerning the ongoing contract negotiation between Amazon and HarperCollins.

When I reported on the story on Tuesday, I knew little more than that the negotiations had hit a snag.  The original BI article didn't include any direct quotes, just unnamed sources, but it was later updated to include this statement from Amazon:

I can't comment on that rumor. I can say that we have offered Harper the same terms for a contract that Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan have all recently agreed to.

I can also add that Publishers Lunch said that the contract negotiation had been going on for over a year. Writing for PL, Michael Cader believes that someone at Amazon leaked the details to BI as "Amazon's way of telling Harper, their authors, and others that the bookseller's patience has worn out". Given that Amazon later provided a quote to BI, I can't discount that conclusion.

Publishers Lunch notes that the Amazon-HarperCollins contract expired in September 2014 (or at least that was the month when HC's settlement agreement with the DOJ expired). This comes as a surprise to anyone who followed the better contract dispute between Hachette and Amazon last year. Amazon started ending services and reducing the stock of Hachette titles in Amazon's warehouse within weeks of that contract expiration, but we haven't seen anything close to that with HarperCollins.

Streitfeld hasn't written an impartial editorials, Douglas Preston hasn't threatened to have Amazon thrown to the DOJ's antitrust wolves, and there haven't been any complaints from authors.

Assuming that all of the present details are correct, this could be a sign that the negotiations, while overlong, are not as acrimonious as the Hachette-Amazon negotiations were last year.

Given the general lack of information, i think it is too early to draw any conclusions. We'll just have to wait and see.

images  by ActuaLitté

About Nate Hoffelder (11460 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

5 Comments on New Details Come to Light on HarperCollins Negotiations With Amazon

  1. Right at the top of Harper Collins is the figure of Rupert Murdoch. He takes a personal interest in all of his companies, so maybe this will get more interesting.

  2. Battles between two gorillas always leave innocents trampled. That would be the authors and readers in this case. I read recently that the new CEO of Walmart is leading a new cost-cutting battle with their suppliers. When P&G meets with Walmart, now there is some major gorilla wrestling!

  3. Well since we don’t have any real fact and are just speculating….

    If the contract did expire in Sept 2014 the timing of this would suggest that they were operating under a temporary 6 month contract extension that expired without resolution and another temporary extension was required. One of the parties must feel the existing terms are more favourable than the new proposed terms, or they have another reason to delay. Like for instance aligning the contract renewal with another publisher.

    HarperCollins hasn’t been shy in the past about using the sister media organizations in News Corp to spin their message so it’s a fair guess that the leak came from Amazon.

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