Speed Reads

Nice company you got there. Shame if anything happened to it.

This is how Amazon bullies companies into submission

Jeff Bezos/Facebook

The New York Times reports that Amazon is slowing deliveries of certain popular books to a crawl, apparently in retaliation against publisher Hachette Books. For example, if you want to buy Stephen Colbert's America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't from the online retailer, you'll have to wait several weeks for shipment, as opposed to the customary two days.

It remains unclear what the beef is between Amazon and Hachette. A spokesperson for the publisher said Amazon was slowing deliveries "for reasons of their own," and an Amazon publicist acknowledged that the company is holding "minimal stock" of Hachette books. However, this is not the first time that Amazon has used its monopoly-like clout to play hardball. Here's the Times:

The bookseller pulled all the "buy" buttons for Macmillan books in 2010 in a dispute over e-book pricing. Two years later, Amazon was negotiating for a higher discount with the distributor Independent Publishers Group. "They decided they wanted me to change my terms," the IPG president, Mark Suchomel, said at the time. "It wasn't reasonable. There's only so far we can go."

Amazon promptly removed more than 4,000 IPG e-books from its site. After lengthy and quiet negotiations, the parties came to terms and the books were restored. [The New York Times]