Amazon Signs Deal with Big 5 Publisher (No, Not Hachette)

If you have paid any attention to the publishing world this year, you know that Amazon and Hachette have been engaged in a bitter feud. Almost everyone has weighed in on the struggle, including Nobel prizing winning economist Paul Krugman in this week’s New York Times. Hachette was the first of the Big 5 publishers to enter new negotiations with Amazon, and many assumed that the negotiations with the other 4 — Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster — would be just as fraught.

However, news just broke that Simon & Schuster and Amazon just reached an agreement. Not many details have been released, but the deal reportedly lets Simon & Schuster maintain the ability to set its own ebook prices. Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from eBook sales.” Amazon also declared victory with the negotiations.

Those details are interesting as it was widely believed that the feud with Hachette was over Amazon wanting to control ebook prices. Amazon even released open letters to the public arguing that their idea of what ebooks should cost was better for the public. As the New York Times notes: “Amazon told Hachette it wanted e-books to be cheaper while also reportedly seeking a greater share of the revenue from each sale.”

Did Amazon change its mind after the massive backlash from authors? What will this deal mean for Hachette’s months-long stand-off? We’ll likely learn more in the coming weeks.

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