Amazon buries the hatchet, not Hachette, in ebook price brouhaha

Ugly publishing battle fixed, in a good way

Amazon has made peace with French publishing house Hachette, finally bringing an end to the months-long battle over ebook pricing and publisher royalty payouts.

The two companies did not disclose terms of the deal but did acknowledge in a joint statement that Hachette would get the rights to set prices for its books with what Amazon said was a 'financial incentive' to keep prices on ebooks down.

"This is great news for writers," said Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch.

"The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners."

Amazon and Hachette have spent much of the year taking shots at one another as they wrangled over how to price ebooks and charge for reselling the digital tomes. Amazon accused Hachette of trying to set the prices on its titles too high, while Hachette had claimed that Amazon was trying to increase the cut it takes when it sells a volume.

"We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike," Amazon Kindle vice president David Naggar said in announcing the deal.

Amazon was criticized for its business tactics while the deal was being worked out, including cutting promotion and discounts on books from Hachette authors.

The conflict between the two companies came to a boil last northern summer when the two partiesboth took to the public sphere to air their dirty laundry with one another.

The case was unrelated to the ebook price-fixing case Hachette settled with the US Department of Justice in 2013, a high-profile battle that also included Apple and allegations of conspiring to drive up book prices. ®

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