NEW YORK (AP) — If you're hoping to pre-order books by J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly and other Hachette Book Group authors, you'll have to go somewhere besides Amazon.com.
An ongoing standoff between Amazon and one of the leading New York publishers has intensified. The online retailer, which already had been slowing delivery on a wide range of Hachette titles, has removed pre-order buttons for such books as Connelly's "The Burning Room" and Rowling's "The Silkworm," a detective story coming out next month that she wrote under the pen name Robert Galbraith.
Previous changes had been more subtle. The listing for the paperback of J.D. Salinger's "Nine Stories" says delivery will take three to five weeks and offers "Similar items at a lower price," including a collection of Ernest Hemingway stories published by Scribner.
"We are doing everything in our power to find a solution to this difficult situation, one that best serves our authors and their work, and that preserves our ability to survive and thrive as a strong and author-centric publishing company," Hachette said in a statement Friday issued through spokeswoman Sophie Cottrell. Later Friday, Hachette released a more strongly worded statement, saying they were "sparing no effort and exploring all options."
Amazon declined to comment. Numerous Hachette authors have criticized Amazon in recent weeks, including Sherman Alexie and James Patterson, who on his Facebook page noted that the purchase of books written by him, Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks and others had been made more difficult.
"What I don't understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers," Patterson wrote. "It certainly doesn't appear to be in the best interest of authors."
Amazon and Hachette are reportedly at odds over terms for e-book prices, at a time when Amazon is in a position of strength and vulnerability. The Seattle-based company is the most powerful force in the book market, believed to have a share of more than 60 percent of e-book sales and at least a third of book sales overall. Rivals have struggled to compete with Amazon's discounts and customer service.
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