Amazon and Simon & Schuster reach multiyear deal

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — and Hachette Book Group remain in a months-long standoff, but the online retailer has reached a multiyear agreement with another major New York publisher, Simon & Schuster.

Amazon and Simon & Schuster both expressed satisfaction Monday with the deal, which covers both print and digital books. Exact terms of the agreement were not available.

Amazon issued a statement saying the agreement would help both sides and "specifically creates a financial incentive for Simon & Schuster to deliver lower prices for readers." Simon & Schuster sent a letter to its authors and their agents, calling the deal "economically advantageous."

"Our new deal assures that your books will be continuously available for sale at this major retailer through this year's holiday book buying season and well beyond," reads the letter, which the publisher shared with The Associated Press.

The letter said the publisher will have control of e-book prices, "with some limited exceptions."

Reportedly deadlocked with Hachette over how to share e-book revenues, Amazon has been slowing deliveries and removing pre-order buttons for numerous Hachette books, including Tina Fey's "Bossypants" and David Baldacci's "The Escape." In response, best-seller Douglas Preston has formed Authors United, with Donna Tartt, Lee Child and Ursula K. Le Guin, among the hundreds of writers from a wide range of publishers who have added their names to letters of protest.

Amazon has defended its actions, saying it was fighting to keep e-book prices low. Hugh Howey, Barry Eisler and many other writers published by Amazon have defended the retailer.

A spokeswoman for Hachette declined comment Monday.

Amazon is the dominant e-book seller and the cost of digital releases has been at the center of a bitter conflict between the retailer and much of the traditional industry, which has worried that Amazon's advocacy for prices of $9.99 and less is not economically sustainable.

Simon & Schuster and Hachette have been negotiating new deals with Amazon because they were among five publishers sued by the U.S. Justice Department in 2012 for alleged price fixing. All the publishers settled out of court.

In 2013, Simon & Schuster, where authors include Stephen King, Bob Woodward and Walter Isaacson, had a dispute with Barnes & Noble that led to the superstore's limiting availability of some of the publisher's books.