Books pulled from Amazon in pricing dispute

Books pulled from Amazon in pricing dispute
NEW YORK (AP) - New copies of Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall," Andrew Young's "The Politician" and other books published by Macmillan were unavailable Saturday on Amazon.com, apparently the biggest rift yet in the ongoing dispute over e-book prices.

An official with knowledge of the dispute said the two sides were in discussions, but would not say why Amazon.com Inc. took such a public step. The official asked not to be identified, citing the sensitivity of the talks.

Macmillan and other publishers have criticized Amazon for charging just $9.99 for best-selling e-books on its Kindle e-reader, a price publishers say is too low and could hurt hardcover sales.

For its part, Amazon wants to keep a lid on prices as competitors line up to challenge its dominant position in a rapidly expanding market. The company did not immediately return messages seeking comment Saturday.

The latest and most talked about challenger is Apple Inc., which just introduced the long-awaited iPad tablet computer and a new online book store modeled on iTunes. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, suggested publishers may offer some e-titles to Apple before allowing them to be sold on Amazon.

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AP Business Writer Andrew Vanacore in New York contributed to this report.