UPDATED: Amazon US removes pre-order option for “The Silkworm;” Amazon “not optimistic” a resolution will be reached soon

The release of J.K. Rowling’s next outing as Robert Galbraith is just around the corner, but it appears that there are problems regarding the relationship between Amazon and the book’s publisher, Hachette Book Group US.

The second Robert Galbraith novel was announced a few months ago to great excitement, and there’s not long until we see it on our shelves, but the novel has already hit headlines due to Amazon and Hachette’s dispute.

Amazon and Hatchette are currently in a dispute over terms. Last week, Amazon removed the option to pre-order for several upcoming novels, including the new Robert Galbraith novel, which is due out on June 24 in the US. The dispute has also affected several other authors who have books coming out in the near future.

The Bookseller states,

Instead of the option to pre-order, certain major titles are listed as ‘currently unavailable,’ with customers offered the option of signing up to be emailed when the book is available.

Although Amazon and Hachette insist that they are honoring all orders promptly, many authors have questioned the issues that the dispute has caused.

James Patterson, one of the affected authors, states,

Currently, Amazon is making it difficult to order many books from Little, Brown and Grand Central, which affects readers of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Nicholas Sparks, Michael Connelly, me, and hundreds of others whose living depends on book sales. What I don’t understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers. It certainly doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of authors.

We’ll have to wait and see how this dispute is settled. For now, if you’re still waiting to pre-order your copy, head to your local bookstore to do so!

There’s not long now until the book is released. Find out more about the new novel here. Are you looking forward to getting the new novel?

Update:  Both Amazon and Hachette have released statements regarding the dispute.

In Amazon’s statement they state that they do business

with more than 70,000 suppliers, including thousands of publishers. One of our important suppliers is Hachette, which is part of a $10 billion media conglomerate. Unfortunately, despite much work from both sides, we have been unable to reach mutually-acceptable agreement on terms. Hachette has operated in good faith and we admire the company and its executives. Nevertheless, the two companies have so far failed to find a solution.

They go on to say that they’ve “offered to Hachette to fund 50% of an author pool — to be allocated by Hachette — to mitigate the impact of this dispute on author royalties, if Hachette funds the other 50%. We did this with the publisher Macmillan some years ago. We hope Hachette takes us up on it.” But they also state that Amazon is “not optimistic [the issue] will be resolved soon.”

Hachette’s full statement is below:

It is good to see Amazon acknowledge that its business decisions significantly affect authors’ lives. For reasons of their own, Amazon has limited its customers’ ability to buy more than 5,000 Hachette titles.
Authors, with whom we at Hachette have been partners for nearly two centuries, engage in a complex and difficult mission to communicate with readers. In addition to royalties, they are concerned with audience, career, culture, education, art, entertainment, and connection. By preventing its customers from connecting with these authors’ books, Amazon indicates that it considers books to be like any other consumer good. They are not.

We will spare no effort to resume normal business relations with Amazon—which has been a great partner for years—but under terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them, at the same time that it recognizes Amazon’s importance as a retailer and innovator. Once we have reached such an agreement, we will be happy to discuss with Amazon its ideas about compensating authors for the damage its demand for improved terms may have done them, and to pass along any payments it considers appropriate.

In the meantime, we are extremely grateful for the spontaneous outpouring of support we have received both privately and publicly from authors and agents. We will continue to communicate with them promptly as this situation develops.