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Simon and Schuster inks deal with Amazon: Publisher will control ebook prices

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Simon & Schuster has signed a new multiyear contract with Amazon that gives the publisher nearly full autonomy over ebook pricing. Both dealmakers appear to be pleased with the agreement, going into effect Jan. 1, 2015. S&S chief executive Carolyn Reidy said in a letter obtained by The New York Times that the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from eBook sales.” The publisher will gain control over determining the prices of its authors’ ebooks, “with some limited exceptions,” according to the letter. Amazon, for example, can still offer some discount deals.

On the other end of the deal, an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to NPR: “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 agreement is especially newsworthy because it resolves the pricing issue at the crux of a months-long standoff between Amazon and publisher Hachette. This summer, Hachette authors and hundreds of others formed Authors United, a group protesting Amazon’s hardline e-book price negotiating tactics—which they claim are detrimental to writers’ livelihoods and the industry as a whole.