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Amazon throws an unexpected punch in their dispute with Hachette

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Last night Seattle-based Amazon dealt the latest blow in there ongoing battle with the Hachette publishing group. The e-commerce giant posted a letter to readers give some explanation of their stand in the feud. The letter also compares the current dispute to what the industry went through when paperback books first appeared on the scene.

Amazon's letter came just a day after James Patterson and 900 other big named authors took out a full page ad in the New York Times. The ad is a re-posting of a letter that Douglas Preston wrote in June accusing Amazon of being in the wrong and using unfair tactics by denying readers access to certain author's books.

In an exert of the letter that Amazon posted they refer to a previous dispute: “Perhaps channeling Orwell's decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn't only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette's readers. “

In the letter they are referring back to a similar dispute the Seattle-based giant had with publishing company MacMillan in 2010. In that dispute MacMillan prevailed to keep control of setting the prices for e-book. Shortly after the dispute was over MacMillan, Apple, Hachette and a couple of other publishers were charged with price fixing. That suit ended up costing all of the parties involved forcing them to make restitution to customers that purchased their e-books on Amazon.

Just because the 2010 disputed ended up with the publishers ultimately losing doesn't mean that a Hachette win would have the same outcome, The arguments on both sides were almost identical then as they are now. It does give up thought of what we might see if Amazon fails to hold their position this time.

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