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Amazon fight halts publisher’s preorders

NEW YORK — If you’re hoping to pre-order books by J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly and other Ha­chette Book Group authors, you’ll have to go somewhere besides Amazon.com.

A standoff between Ama­zon and one of the leading New York publishers has intensified. The online retailer, which already had been slowing delivery on a wide range of Hachette titles, has removed preorder buttons for such books as Connelly’s The Burning Room and Row­ling’s The Silkworm, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

Previous changes had been more subtle. The listing for the paperback of J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories says delivery will take three to five weeks and offers “similar items at a lower price,” including a collection of Er­nest Hemingway stories published by Scribner.

Hachette authors have criticized Amazon in recent weeks, including James Patterson, who noted that the purchase of books written by him, Malcolm Glad­well, Nicholas Sparks and others had been made more difficult.

Amazon and Hachette are reportedly at odds over terms for e-book prices.

“We are doing everything in our power to find a solution to this difficult situation, one that best serves our authors and their work, and that preserves our ability to survive and thrive as a strong and author-centric publishing company,” Ha­chette said in a statement Friday.

Amazon declined to comment.

April brings rebound for new home sales

WASHINGTON — Sales of U.S. new homes recovered in April after slumping in the previous two months, but Amer­­icans are still buying homes at a slower pace than they did a year ago.

The Commerce De­part­ment said Friday that sales of new homes rose 6.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000. That tops an upwardly revised annual pace of 407,000 in March, when purchases fell 6.9 percent. Buying had also dropped in February, in part because of snowstorms.


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