On The Books: Publisher accuses Amazon of deliberately delaying shipments of books

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The publishing house Hachette Book Group has accused Amazon of deliberately delaying shipments of their books as a negotiation tactic to pressure the publisher into giving Amazon more favorable terms. Amazon has reportedly been marking many books published by Hachette as not available for at least two or three weeks. Titles by Malcolm Gladwell and J.D. Salinger are being delayed. Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is listed as three weeks away, while James Patterson’s Alex Cross, Run is listed as a five-week wait. The New York Times reports that over the years Amazon has employed a number of ruthless tactics against publishing houses, even removing the “buy” buttons from some books! [New York Times]

After the Amazon article, it’s interesting to hear the conclusions in The Guardian’s podcast about the effect self-publishing has had on the books industry. Successfully self-published authors such as Hugh Howey and Catherine Quinn explain their career paths (both have now signed with major publishers). Editors and publishers also weigh in on the discussion of how e-books, self-publishing, and the digital sphere have all shaped the publishing industry. [Guardian]

Speaking of ruthless negotiation tactics, South Carolina is still charging forward with their fund-slashing of any course that includes LGBT literature. The state has even drawn the ire of Pulitzer prize-winning authors Richard Ford and Junot Díaz, who said the policy was “flat-out hate masquerading as concern for ‘public sensibility’ ” after the state government proposed funding cuts for two colleges that offer literature classes with gay-themes. [Guardian]

Yiu Mantin, a Hong Kong-based publisher, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for “smuggling chemicals.” But family members claim the Chinese government is striking out against him in order to halt his publication of books by Chinese dissidents. [New York Times]

The Netflix of e-books, Oyster (love the name) has announced the addition of about 500 new publisher partners, bringing its library of e-books to more than 500,000 titles, according to Publisher’s Weekly. For $9.99/month you get unlimited access to their entire library, which boasts McSweeney’s, Chronicle, HarperCollins and Grove Atlantic titles, among others.

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