Amazon threatens eBook publishers as Apple looms

As Apple builds its electronic bookstore, is trying to use its clout to hold on to its early lead in the market, reports the New York Times. has threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books, according to two industry executives with direct knowledge of the discussions. The hardball approach comes less than two months after Amazon shocked the publishing world by removing the “buy” buttons from its site for thousands of printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, in a dispute over eBook pricing. Amazon is the largest online seller of printed books and the biggest eBook seller in the United States. The company is pressuring publishers just as Apple is also preparing to sell digital books for reading on its iPad tablet, which will reach the market in early April. Five of the country’s six largest publishers—Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Penguin—already have reached deals with Apple to sell their books through its iBookstore, which will be featured on the iPad. (The holdout is Random House…)

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