PaidContent reports that Amazon has officially reached an agreement with publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to print and distribute all titles published by Amazon Publishing everywhere in North America outside of Amazon.com itself. This will allow Amazon to work around B&N’s insistence on not carrying any print book it cannot also sell electronically without having to enter into a direct agreement with its competitor—for B&N’s purposes, the books will be “published” by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt rather than Amazon.
Of course, it’s patently obvious what Amazon is doing there, and B&N can still refuse to carry any Amazon-published titles (as it can refuse to carry titles from any publisher for any reason). And a lot of independent bookstores have already expressed reluctance to stock such titles no matter who publishes them in print. Still, the agreement means that Amazon can piggyback onto HMH’s pre-existing bookstore sales network, rather than having to build its own corps of bookstore sales reps.