The negotiations between Amazon and Hachette are getting uglier. Last week, Amazon proposed a plan to offer Hachette authors 100% of ebook profits until negotiations are over, a plan Hachette swiftly rejected.
According to Amazon, the prolonged negotiations put authors in a bad position. With their proposed plan, authors would at least be able to make more money while the two companies resolve their differences. “Hachette is part of a $10 billion global conglomerate … They can afford it. What they’re really making clear is that they absolutely want their authors caught in the middle of this negotiation because they believe it increases their leverage.” It’s unclear what percentage of Hachette’s book sales are ebooks, but for the industry overall, about 30% of book sales are ebook sales, and 60% of Hachette’s ebook sales are from Amazon.
An Amazon representative told EW, “You have to look at the parent company — Lagardère Group — rather than just the Hachette division. They can afford it, and should stop using their authors as human shields.”
A spokesman for Hachette Livre said Amazon’s statement misrepresented Hachette’s finances, telling EW that “amalgamating Hachette’s and its parent company’s finances as if they were just one big budget is childish and can fool no one with a minimal knowledge of business practices.”