For the first time, Amazon is publicly acknowledging a long-simmering dispute between it and a major publishing company, Hachette Book Group.
At the heart of the fight is how much money will flow to Hachette from Amazon sales of e-books. But because of the disagreement, Amazon is now playing hardball with the French-based publisher by stocking fewer print copies in its warehouses, ending support for Hachette pre-orders and making it generally more difficult for consumers to read Hachette-linked authors, such as J.K. Rowling.
For titles where there are no copies on hand, customers can still place orders through Amazon, the company said, but they will take longer since Amazon must first order the inventory from Hachette. "If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors," Amazon said in a statement Tuesday night. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Sounds simple enough. But most of us have grown accustomed to going to Amazon for practically all e-commerce. So, where can you pre-order, say, Robert Galbraith's (aka Rowling's) "The Silkworm" now?
One place to start looking is Barnes & Noble, where pre-orders of Hachette books are still possible. Another option is Portland, Ore.-based Powell's. And if you're just looking for regular books that are already on the market, you can go straight to the source.
On Amazon, meanwhile, you can still buy used titles from third-party resellers.