Amazon, Hachette resolve spat that rocked book world

Amazon.com (AMZN) and France's Hachette Book Group have signed a multi-year agreement to resolve their dispute over eBook and print book pricing that has rocked the book world.

The companies will "immediately resume normal trading" and Hachette books will be "prominently featured" in promotions, according to a press released issued by both companies.

Hachette will be responsible for setting consumer prices of its eBooks and will "benefit from better terms when it delivers lower prices for readers," the statement says, without providing specifics. The agreement takes effect next year.

"This is great news for writers," said Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO, in the statement. "This is great news for writers. The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners."

Shares of Amazon rose $3.26, or 1 percent, to $314.87.

Hachette is the world's third largest trade and educational publisher, whose books are marketed under a variety of names such as Little, Brown and Company, Grand Central Publishing, Orbit and Hachette Books. The website PublishersLunch, which broke the news of the settlement, noted that some of the publisher's title were available today for pre-order, including Kevin Pietersen's "AUTOBIOGRAPHY" set for release in December, as well as John Carder Bush's "Cathy," due out in April.

Seattle-based Amazon had earned the ire of authors by refusing to take pre-orders for Hachette books or provide discounts on their titles. Amazon reportedly wanted a bigger percentage of the revenue from eBooks. Critics had accused the e-commerce company, which sells 41 percent of all new books, of bullying the publisher. The group Authors United accused Amazon of singling out a group of writers "who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation."

In an email to CBS MoneyWatch, Authors United organizer Douglas Preston, who writes techno-thrillers, horror novels as well as non-fiction works, said he was relieved that the dispute was settled.

"I can only hope that, if disagreements arise in the future between Amazon and publishers, Amazon will never again seek to gain leverage by sanctioning books and hurting authors," he writes.

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