Publisher Simon and Schuster and bookstore chain Barnes and Noble have been locked in a quiet battle since March. The bookstore chain wanted deeper discounts on books and leveraged their in-store ordering to make it happen, leaving authors to contend that this spat was damaging their sales. During the disagreement, Barnes and Noble locations were not providing display space or allowing book tour appearances.
The New York Times reported that, “The dispute centers on the financial arrangement between Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster. While neither side will specify exactly what new terms Barnes & Noble is seeking, a senior executive familiar with the negotiations said that the bookseller wanted to pay less for books and receive more money for giving titles prominent display in its stores. Such display spots are coveted because they are thought to be critical in helping customers discover new books.”
It looks like the heavy handed approach worked, as today both sides released a brief statement saying that the dispute has ended. “Barnes & Noble and Simon & Schuster today announced that they have resolved their outstanding business issues. Both parties said they look forward to promoting great books by Simon & Schuster authors.”
There is no public information on the new terms and what type of discounts Barnes and Noble is getting from one of the largest publishers in the world. Considering how deeply ebook sales are being slashed in price, B&N should be a little bit more sustainable in their retail book selling business.