May 28 - The war between Amazon and publisher Hachette continues to escalate, with authors and consumers getting dragged into battle. Bobbi Rebell reports.
A new battle is brewing in the media business- catching star authors like J.K. Rowling, David Baldacci and James Patterson in the crossfire. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: Here in New York City, where the big book industry trade show Book Expo America is gearing up- there is a tension in the air- about the growing standoff between Amazon and publisher Hachette. Amazon is flexing its muscle with publishers- trying to get higher payments. And now creating hurdles to buy Hachette books- with longer delivery times, higher prices, and suggestions of cheaper, easier-to-buy alternatives. Forrester's James McQuivey. SOUNDBITE: JAMES MCQUIVEY, PRINCIPAL ANALYST, FORRESTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This should tell you just how important this issue is to Amazon, that they are willing to tell their own customers to go buy the book from someone else, because they are sticking with this for the long haul. They know there is a lot at stake." He thinks Amazon is carefully monitoring the lost sales- but could hold out for another four to six weeks. Both companies have been mum about the actual details of the dispute. But late Tuesday Amazon issued a statement saying: "Though we remain hopeful and are working hard to come to a resolution as soon as possible, we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon." They even suggest customers buy from the competition." Hachette Chief Arnaud Nourry seemed a bit more optimistic saying: "All our energy is dedicated to finding a solution with Amazon, as with any other retailer. I hope it will be off in a few weeks." Amazon has been buying fewer print books from Hachette, and removed the pre-order option from upcoming titles- including "The Silkworm" which is written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Authors are taking notice- James Patterson wrote on his Facebook page: "What I don't understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers." And it's not just the stars speaking out. Order Nicole Mary Kelby's book "The Pink Suit" on Amazon- and wait two to four weeks. Rival Barnes and Noble has it right away. Kelby doesn't care who's right. SOUNDBITE: NICOLE MARY KELBY, AUTHOR, "THE PINK SUIT" (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I am not saying that Amazon is the bad guy. I am saying that these two titans are involved in a business dispute. And it is business. They don't realize how many people are actually impacted and how deeply and profoundly they are impacted. If I don't make back the advance that I get, it's going to be very difficult for me to sell another book." SOUNDBITE: JAMES MCQUIVEY, PRINCIPAL ANALYST, FORRESTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Having a few authors trash talk you is one thing, and not every author loves Amazon to begin with. But then having the actual book readers who then also buy pants from Amazon buy whatever else Amazon sells them of the thousands of other products they offer- When they start talking bad about Amazon that's when Amazon will pull back. Amazon said it would put up half the money for a fund to help offset the loss in royalties to Hachette authors as a result of the disagreement if Hachette pays for the other half.