Amazon stirs controversy with hardball tactics against publishers

|By:, SA News Editor

Amazon (AMZN) has escalated a contract-related battle with publisher Hachette by halting pre-orders for a number of Hachette books (inc. J.K. Rowling's latest novel), and removing pages promoting upcoming Hachette titles.

The e-commerce giant is even altering search results, and moving recommendations for 3rd-party titles to prominent spots on Hachette pages. Amazon had already begun delaying shipments of print titles from Hachette, and is doing something similar in Germany for books offered by Bonnier (another publisher it has a dispute with).

The head of a German publishers' association says its antitrust experts are studying whether Amazon's tactics against Bonnier are illegal. Meanwhile, its actions against Hachette have triggered a backlash among U.S. writers/editors.

As it is, Amazon's efforts to publish books under its own imprints have caused friction with the publishers who heavily depend on it.