Walmart, Colbert enter Amazon book fray

Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," has now gotten involved in the well-publicized fray between Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Hachette publishing.

Colbert's books are published by Hachette, so it is not surprising that he would have an opinion on Amazon's efforts to make Hachette's books difficult to come by, David Streitfeld writes in The New York Times' Bits blog. Amazon is negotiating with Hachette over e-book prices and Hachette is balking at the terms, while its sales plummet on Amazon.

On his June 4 show, Colbert urged viewers to download an "I didn't buy it on Amazon" sticker from his website and place it on their books. "I'm not just mad at Amazon," Colbert said, according to Bits. "I'm Mad Prime." To make his message clear, he then proceeded to flip off Amazon.

Colbert's tirade follows reports earlier this week that Walmart.com's (NYSE:WMT) book sales spiked 40 percent since last week.

"Web shoppers are turning to Walmart's website because Amazon has drastically slowed down shipping of Hachette books, including ones by best-selling author James Patterson. The online behemoth also stopped pre-orders of books from the French publisher as negotiations stall over e-book pricing," Huffington Post reported.

Smartly, Walmart.com issued discounts of up to 40 percent off on 400 Hachette books and advertised faster shipping, leading to a 40 percent jump in book sales at Walmart.com.

"We're committed to making it easy for our customers to have access to a broad assortment of the products they want, at the low prices they want – including copies of their favorite books that they might not be able to get elsewhere," Walmart said in a statement.

It is unclear whether Amazon will change its policy after the boycotts. However, Amazon is re-stocking some Hachette books.

For more:
-See this The New York Times Bits post
-See this Huffington Post Business article

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