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Amazon blocks pre-orders of Hachette titles

The price row between Amazon and publisher Hachette Book Group has escalated with the e-commerce giant taking further steps to block forthcoming Hachette titles, including JK Rowling’s “The Silkworm” due out next month.

Amazon, which had already been slowing down delivery of a number titles across Hachette, has now removed its pre-order button over a dispute about e-book prices, according to reports.

"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 issued through spokeswoman Sophie Cottrell.

According to The Daily Mail, a number of Hachette authors have criticised Amazon in recent weeks for corporate bullying, including James Patterson, who took to his Facebook page to air his views.

“What I don't understand about this particular battle tactic is how it is in the best interest of Amazon customers,' Patterson wrote.

“It certainly doesn't appear to be in the best interest of authors”.

Amazon declined to comment.

This is not the first time that the e-commerce giant, who is believed to have a share of more than 60 per cent of e-book sales, has used blocking tactics to intimidate publishers into negotiating better sales terms. In 2010 it temporarily removed the buy buttons of Macmillan titles over e-book prices.

Last week Hachette UK announced that is set to give fans and readers a direct say in the products it puts on special offer via a series of online marketing campaigns.

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