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Amazon courts authors in Hachette dispute

Amazon has offered to let Hachette Group authors keep all of the proceeds from digital book sales while it and Hachette negotiate an end to a contract dispute.

Amazon sent a letter last week directly to several authors and agents to let them know about the proposal, which Hachette had already rejected in their talks, according to multiple news outlets. The letter, by Amazon’s VP of Kindle content David Naggar, tries to win over authors by offering them “a big windfall” in digital sales profits in a proposal he claims would also help resolve the dispute between Amazon and Hachette more quickly. Naggar also claims in the letter that Hachette has been reluctant to negotiate. (Gigaom has the full letter posted here.)

Amazon has been trying to gain a greater share of e-book revenue in its contentious negotiations with Hachette, which have included the online retailer delaying shipment of Hachette titles as well as ending discounts offered on the publisher’s products. Amazon’s tactics created a backlash among authors, including television host Stephen Colbert, who organized a boycott of the online stores. .

Hachette has said in a statement that it will continue to negotiate with Amazon once the online company removes the “sanctions” it has imposed concerning the publisher’s products, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, Amazon countered by saying that Hachette is “stalling” and that the publisher is happy to have its authors in the middle of the fray because it improves Hachette’s leverage.