The end to the saga: Hachette blinks

hachette vs amazon imageThe long running 'negotiations' between Hachette and Amazon has finally come to an end. And while it is unclear who ended up winning, Digital Reader believes that  Hachette blinked given that its revenues fell 18% in the third quarter of 2014.

I'm also inclined to this view given that Hachette's parent company reported on 13 November that Hachette’s US revenues were down considerably from last year. While the decline was attributed to difficult comparisons with last year when the company had an “unusually high” number of bestsellers they did admit that the  “difficult situation” with Amazon also impacted sales.

For all of Lagardere Publishing, revenue in the quarter fell 2.9%, but  the sharpest decline by far happened in the US, the unmistakeable conclusion being that at least a major part of this was due to the ongoing contract dispute with Amazon.

The possibility of a circuit breaker in the ongoing dispute was the agreement Amazon negotiated with Simon and Schuster in October - which is probably similiar to what was finally agreed with Hachette. And while it is unclear what was actually agreed here's what both parties said about the new agreement:

  • “We are pleased with this new agreement as it includes specific financial incentives for Hachette to deliver lower prices.” [Amazon's David Naggar, press release] (This is the same thing that Amazon said about the deal it reached with Simon & Schuster in October,

  • “Importantly, the percent of revenue on which Hachette authors’ ebook royalties are based will not decrease under this agreement.” [Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch, press release] (Gigaom.com)

So, finally the saga comes to an end, and while no-one is a clear winner, it appears that both parties achieved a little of what they were seeking.

 Read previous posts

And if you want to catch up on the whole sorry saga in the Publishers Weekly

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