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bezosamazonpodPeople who want to buy Malcolm Gladwell’s books and some other popular titles from Amazon could be waiting for a while.

Hachette Book Group is claiming that Amazon is delaying shipments of its books to customers while the two parties are working on negotiating a new contract. Several books published by Hachette, including Gladwell’s, are marked with shipping delays of more than two weeks on Amazon’s site. The publisher says that it is filling all of Amazon’s orders promptly.

“We have been asked legitimate questions about why many of our books are at present marked out of stock with relatively long estimated shipping times on the Amazon website, in contrast to immediate availability on other websites and in stores,” said Hachette spokeswoman Sophie Cottrell told GeekWire in an email. “We are satisfying all Amazon’s orders promptly, and notifying them constantly of forthcoming publicity events and of out-of-stock situations on their website.  Amazon is holding minimal stock and restocking some of HBG’s books slowly, causing “available 2-4 weeks” messages, for reasons of their own.” 

This appears to be a pattern for the Seattle-based retailer, which has used similar hardball tactics with other publishers in the past. Amazon pulled over 4,000 titles from its Kindle Store in 2012 over a dispute with the Independent Publishing Group, and acted similarly with Macmillian when that publisher wanted to switch from wholesale to agency pricing for its e-books.

Amazon isn’t the only bookseller to act in this way, either. Barnes & Noble stopped carrying Simon and Schuster’s books during a contract dispute as well.

An Amazon representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this piece. The news was reported earlier by the New York Times.


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