Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Amazon reveals e-mail address of Hachett CEO

NO SURRENDER:Amazon urged the public to e-mail the US head of Hatchett to aid its battle to get the publishing firm to agree to lower its prices for ebooks

AFP, NEW YORK

Amazon revealed on Saturday the e-mail address of the US head of publishing group Hachette, urging readers to write and pressure him to end the two groups’ simmering dispute over book pricing. The move came after more than 900 authors signed a letter urging the US online giant Amazon to end its battle with Hachette.

“We will never give up our fight for reasonable ebook prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture,” a letter posted by Amazon on ReadersUnited.com read. “We’d like your help. Please e-mail Hachette and copy us.”

In addition to providing the e-mail address of Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch, the letter also listed talking points for readers to include in their e-mails to him. The US online retailer even suggests accusing Pietsch of “illegal collusion.”

“Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive,” given the lack of printing, stocking and shipping costs for ebooks, the Amazon letter added in its talking points.

Amazon says it wants to set a US$9.99 price for most ebooks, compared to US$12.99 to US$19.99 currently. Amazon and Hachette have been locked in tense negotiations in the US in recent months. In order to pressure the editor, the online retailer has reduced its Hachette stock and stopped taking pre-orders for the authors it edits.

Amazon has drawn fire for its tactics that include discouraging customers from buying books by Hachette authors and suggesting that readers might enjoy a book from another writer instead.

Amazon last month attempted to shift the blame to Hachette, saying the publisher is opposing lower ebook prices. Amazon said its proposal to Hachette is to give 35 percent of ebook revenue to authors, another 35 percent to the publisher and then keep the remaining 30 percent as its share.

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