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Book News: Amazon Inks A Deal With A Publisher Not Named Hachette

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Amazon has reached a multiyear agreement with Simon & Schuster over the pricing of the publisher's print and digital books. Simon & Schuster, one of the "Big Five" U.S. publishing houses and a division of CBS Corp., agreed to the terms two months before its contract with Amazon was set to expire.

Although details on the deal remain slim, The Wall Street Journalreports that the publisher will retain the right to name its own prices for e-books. According to Business Insider, negotiations over the deal took just three short weeks — in stark contrast to Amazon's months-long duel with Hachette Book Group, another Big Five publisher, over e-book pricing.

In a letter to authors, obtained by The New York Times, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy called the deal "economically advantageous" for both parties, noting that "it maintains the author's share of income generated from e-book sales" ("with some limited exceptions," the letter adds).

In a statement released to NPR, an Amazon spokesperson said, "We are very happy with this agreement, as it allows us to grow our business with Simon & Schuster and help their authors reach an ever-wider audience." The full statement can be read at the Business Insider link above.

Beyond the scope of the deal itself, news of the agreement is likely to bear implications for the rest of the Big Five. Hachette's contract with Amazon expired in March and was briefly extended by Amazon into April, though no new contract has been signed since then. Amazon is also expected to negotiate new contracts with Penguin Random House, Macmillan and HarperCollins.

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Colin Dwyer covers breaking news for NPR. He reports on a wide array of subjects — from politics in Latin America and the Middle East, to the latest developments in sports and scientific research.