Hachette Declines Amazon’s Offer to Give Authors 100% eBook Royalties During Dispute

Well that was quick.

It’s only been a handful of hours since the letter Amazon sent to authors and agents was leaked to the press, and Hachette has already issued a statement declining the offer (found via GigaOm):

Amazon has just sent us a brief proposal.  We invite Amazon to withdraw the sanctions they have unilaterally imposed, and we will continue to negotiate in good faith and with the hope of a swift conclusion. We believe that the best outcome for the writers we publish is a contract with Amazon that brings genuine marketing benefits and whose terms allow Hachette to continue to invest in writers, marketing, and innovation.  We look forward to resolving this dispute soon and to the benefit of the writers who have trusted their books to us.”

In their letter, Amazon claimed that Hachette wasn’t negotiating in good faith and had not really been negotiating at all (you can find the full letter here). Amazon said that negotiations had stalled in early June when Hachette stopped communicating. i don’t know if that’s true but it certainly has not been denied by Hachette.

Furthermore, Amazon has issued its own response to Hachette’s statement:

We call baloney. Hachette is part of a $10 billion global conglomerate. It wouldn’t be ‘suicide. They can afford it. What they’re really making clear is that they absolutely want their authors caught in the middle of this negotiation because they believe it increases their leverage. All the while, they are stalling and refusing to negotiate, despite the pain caused to their authors. Our offer is sincere. They should take us up on it.

And this, folks, is what it looks like when Amazon plays dirty.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. AD Starrling8 July, 2014

    I am shocked. SHOCKED, I tell ya.

    Er, no, not really 😉

    If Hachette really DID care about their authors, they would have accepted these offers.

  2. Amber Yetter8 July, 2014

    That response didn’t take long and pretty much what was expected. I really couldn’t see Hachette letting authors get paid while they didn’t considering what they take as their cut on the sale of a book. I kind of wondered why Amazon remained so silent while Hachette kept leaking so much to make them look like the poor underdog and Amazon the big bad villain. But now Hachette not only lost some of their good guy points but some of their authors might start pressuring them to resolved this. Pretty good on Amazon’s part, little risk and a pretty big PR payoff.

    1. Nate Hoffelder8 July, 2014

      It was a win-win for Amazon all right. Even if Hachette had accepted Amazon would still look good.

  3. Geoffrey Kidd8 July, 2014

    Of course Hachette refused. The authors might wake up to the fact that they can get a better deal from Amazon.

  4. puzzled9 July, 2014

    Well, Hachette mentioned the I-word.

    Which means they have no innovation…

    1. Nate Hoffelder9 July, 2014

      What L word?

  5. Felipe Adan Lerma9 July, 2014

    Hatchette could at least have countered with a 90/10 split, after all, someone at Hatchette has to make enough for coffee, muffins, etc – NOT 😉

  6. Tammy9 July, 2014

    An author mentioned that it was a bad idea because if Amazon gave the authors profits in this way, it wouldn’t go toward paying off their advance at all. I don’t claim to know how the politics of that work. But it sounds like what Amazon would do would still hurt authors!

  7. Syn10 July, 2014

    Its a shame Hatchette is so determine to stick it to us. If they go back to Agency, which I believe is what they are trying to do, I will go back to not buying the Agency books again. Don’t these people know anything about lower price, higher volume sold?

  8. Syn10 July, 2014

    If Hatchette didn’t even respond to Amazon for 3 FULL months, then they are clearly stalling. If they sign a contract now they can’t do agency, but if they stall until they can go back into Agency Legally, then they can side step Amazon’s whole sale contract.

    Anyone know when Hatchette can legally go back to Agency?

    Anyway, good move Amazon.


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