November 13, 2014 Last Updated 11:23 am

Amazon and Hachette declare a cease fire, sign new contract, just in time for the holidays

Details of the new deal remain secret, but both sides claim to be happy with the new multi-year contract

The ongoing war between the giant online retainer Amazon.com and the big publisher Hachette Book Group could not go on into the holiday season. So, no surprise, the two sides signed a new multi-year deal that should put to an end the bitter fight between the retailer and the supplier.

Preston-coverNeither Amazon nor Hachette were terribly eager to reveal the details of the new contract, but both sides claimed to be happy.

“The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners,” said Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch.

“We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices, which we believe will be a great win for readers and authors alike,” Amazon’s David Naggar, VP of Kindle, said in a statement.

The NYT claims the deal “broadly follows a deal Amazon recently worked out with Simon & Schuster,” though how they know this since the details of either deal have been kept secret (to be honest, that line seems like something to simply throw into their story).

This is great news for writers
Michael Pietsch, Hachette CEO

All along neither side gave out much detail concerning the negotiations, though both sides wanted to paint the other as the greedy party. This never stopped media observers or authors from taking sides. But the negotiations on the new contract followed a pattern familiar to those in the mergers and acquisitions business (something I have done): tough negotiations, followed by periods of time when all seems frozen in place, and then when the pressure is on due to a deadline (or in this case, the approaching holiday shopping season) a deal is struck.

The new deal will likely require a bit of time to unwind as many Hachette titles still show delays in shipping on Amazon.com, but that should be reversed in the next few days as Amazon goes through their system. Likely built into the deal is an incentive for Hachette to lower its eBook prices, most likely an increase in their share if they do so.

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