Amazon’s contract negotiations with HarperCollins have come to a something of an impasse, according to an anonymous source Business Insider reports as knowledgeable about the matter.
It’s the first time the public has gotten any indication—however limited and hard to corroborate (HarperCollins has declined to comment)—that the publisher’s talks with Amazon may not be going smoothly.
HarperCollins’s distribution contract with Amazon is thought to have expired in September 2014, which leads Publishers Lunch to estimate that discussions of renewal terms probably “began something like a year ago.”
And since this certainly isn’t the first time negotiations between Amazon and a publisher have gone public, Publishers Lunch wagers further that the comment leaked to Business Insider—which counts Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as an investor—”may be Amazon’s way of telling Harper, their authors, and others that the bookseller’s patience has worn out.”
Amazon claims, through a representative Business Insider quotes, that it’s “offered Harper the same terms for a contract that Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan have all recently agreed to.”
There’s a certain irony to that contention, not only because the contracts each of those publishers struck with Amazon likely aren’t identical even if the versions of agency ebook pricing they each resulted in are similar, but also because Amazon led the charge in 2010 that led the Department of Justice to investigate those very publishers for all reaching the same contract terms with Apple.