Amazon, Simon & Schuster sign book retail deal

[NEW YORK] Amazon has reached a deal with American book publisher Simon & Schuster, the companies said, though the e-commerce giant remains at loggerheads with France's Hachette over e-book pricing.

The mutli-year deal with Simon & Schuster, expected to come into effect in early January, allows print and electronic editions from the American publisher to be marketed and retailed by Amazon.

The books "will be continuously available for sale at this major retailer through this year's holiday book buying season and well beyond," a source close to the deal told AFP.

The same source said Simon & Schuster will retain most control over the retail prices of its books.

The deal comes amid on ongoing feud between Amazon and French publisher Hachette over e-book retailing. Amazon has pushed for lower retail prices for e-books, to which Hachette objects.

In order to pressure the editor, Amazon has reduced its Hachette stock and stopped taking pre-orders for the authors it edits.

Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said she was "very happy" with her company's agreement with Amazon, according to a letter seen by AFP.

"We are very happy with this agreement as it is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors," Ms Reidy said in the letter addressed to the company's writers.

She said the deal "maintains the author's share of income generated from e-book sales. It addresses our mutual concerns about preserving the value of our intellectual property in the marketplace." Amazon said it was "happy" with the agreement, and said it will span several years, though it did not specify a timeline.

"It allows us to grow our business with Simon & Schuster and help their authors reach an ever-wider audience," a spokesperson said.

"The agreement specifically creates a financial incentive for Simon & Schuster to deliver lower prices for readers." Amazon has drawn fire for its tactics in its dispute with Hachette, which includes discouraging customers from buying books by Hachette authors and suggesting that readers might enjoy a book from another writer instead.

Amazon has attempted to shift the blame to the French publisher, saying Hachette is opposing lower e-book prices.


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