June 24 Hachette Book Group is close to buying Perseus Books Group, the sixth-largest U.S. publisher, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The deal will give Hachette, the fourth-largest U.S. publisher, leverage in a months-long dispute with e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc over the pricing terms of e-books, the New York Times said.
The e-commerce giant has already cut the number of print books it buys from Hachette, delayed the delivery of some of the publisher's titles and even removed an option for buyers to pre-order "The Silkworm", Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling's second crime novel, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Amazon has a record of combative negotiations.
With the world's largest online retailer now dominating the e-book market, it has begun demanding that publishers cut prices and pay higher fees.
Authors and other publishing insiders have, in recent weeks, accused Amazon of wielding its power as a major retailer to gain an unfair advantage during contract talks.
Hachette is owned by French media group Lagardere.
Under the terms of the deal, Hachette will keep Perseus's publishing business, but sell the company's client services division to book distributor Ingram Content Group - a unit of Ingram Industries. (nyti.ms/1l7JxRz)
Perseus publishes non-fiction titles such as Avalon Travel, Public Affairs and Basic Books. (Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by Simon Jennings)