Amazon, HarperCollins agree to multilayer deal over sale of e-books

Amazon.com and HarperCollins Publishers have agreed to a multiyear deal covering the sale of print and e-books, in the latest pact between the the web retailer and a major publishing house after disputes over the share of e-book profits.

''HarperCollins has reached an agreement with Amazon, and our books will continue to be available on the Amazon print and digital platforms,'' 'Harper­Collins spokeswoman Erin Crum said Monday.

The agreement comes after several deals between Amazon and Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers and Simon & Schuster.

Amazon, authors and book publishers had long engaged in discussions over the price of digital books and shared revenue.

Amazon had sought discounts, arguing that the move would raise sale volumes bringing in more total revenue.

Book publishers and some authors were opposed to the proposal, saying Amazon's tactics were costing them income.

According to commentators, the move benefited HarperCollins and its authors, as it meant their titles would continue to be promoted and sold without interruption by Amazon, which dominated the sale of physical books online as well as e-book sales.

The agreement comes as HarperCollins readies  marketing plans for Harper Lee's new novel Go Set a Watchman. The book, which would be published 14 July, was expected to be HarperCollins's biggest selling title of the year.

The deal also benefited Amazon and assured the retailer of a good profit on HarperCollins digital titles. Under the so-called agency pricing model, publishers kept roughly 70 per cent of the revenue from each individual sale, with retailers receiving an estimated 30 per cent as their fee. Discounting was done only with approval of the publisher.

The pact with HarperCollins, which like The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires is owned by News Corp, appeared to be similar in scope to those struck with three other major publishers in 2014.

Amazon last year first signed a deal with CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster publishing arm covering digital and physical books following it up, later with Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group (See: Amazon, Hachette bury the hatchet over e-book sales), and then Macmillan, a unit of Germany's Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, in December.

The new agreement brings to an end speculation that Amazon and HarperCollins were nearing a showdown that would disrupt the sale of HarperCollins titles.

When Hachette and Amazon could not agree on terms last year, Amazon stopped taking pre-orders and cut the discount it offered on many Hachette titles, and was at times out of stock of new Hachette titles.