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Major Macmillan titles not yet restored on Amazon

February 2, 2010 |  3:00 pm

Amazonlogo Publishing watchers have been riled up by the fight that erupted Friday evening, when Amazon.com suddenly stopped selling books by Macmillan, one of the (smaller) big six parent companies of publishing, over an e-books pricing dispute. On Sunday, in a message board announcement, Amazon said it would "ultimately...capitulate" to Macmillan's new pricing plan.

Yet here it is Tuesday afternoon, and major Macmillan titles are still not for sale on Amazon.com. Although the titles can be found on the site, they can only be purchased from third-party vendors, and there are no e-book/Kindle versions available. Notably unavailable titles are Andrew Young's John Edwards tell-all, "The Politician," which is topping Barnes & Noble's bestseller list; "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, which won the Man Booker Award; and Atul Gawande's "The Checklist Manifesto."

Publishers Lunch, which requires paid registration, found one Macmillan book that had surfaced on Amazon full-force: "Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah, "one of the few Macmillan books you can buy right now from Amazon for your Kindle."

Earlier today, the Kindle price was $29.99, which may have been in error; it has since dropped to $16.49. And while "Winter Garden" is available from Amazon.com in a large print edition, the standard hardcover version of the book is not available from the site.

What exactly is Amazon.com doing? Are the two parties still in negotiation? Who authorized the message board statement? And will no one at the company come forward, as Macmillan's Chief Executive John Sargent did, to address readers directly?

-- Carolyn Kellogg