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Books pulled from Amazon in pricing dispute

Books pulled from Amazon in pricing dispute

New copies of books published by Macmillan were unavailable in e-book form on Saturday on Amazon.com, apparently the biggest rift yet in the ongoing dispute over 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.
Some of Macmillan's new titles include Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall," a novel about political intrigue during the reign of Henry VIII that won Britain's prestigious Booker Prize, and Andrew Young's "The Politician," an aide's account of the sex scandal involving two-time presidential candidate John Edwards.
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.