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Amazon book squabble rages

– 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.

An ongoing 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 pre-order buttons for such books as Connelly’s “The Burning Room” and Rowling’s “The Silkworm,” a detective story she wrote 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.

“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. Numerous Hachette authors have criticized Amazon in recent weeks, including Sherman Alexie and James Patterson.

Amazon and Hachette are reportedly at odds over terms for e-book prices. The Seattle company is the most powerful force in the book market, believed to have a share of more than 60 percent of e-book sales and at least a third of book sales overall. Rivals have struggled to compete with Amazon’s discounts and customer service.

But recent earnings reports have been disappointing and Amazon’s stock prices, which surged for years despite narrow profits, have dropped sharply in 2014.

Amazon has a history of aggressive actions with publishers, most dramatically in 2010 when it removed the buy buttons for releases by Macmillan.

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