The ongoing saga of the dispute between online retailer Amazon and publisher Hachette has taken a turn for the more violent - as employees for both companies have been taking to the streets and engaging in "rumbles".
The fighting, attended by up to two police officers at a time, is taking place in Seattle, home of Amazon's headquarters, and has been ongoing for six days now. Although the protests started with each side holding up amusing and vaguely rhyming placards, tensions rose when Amazon began shipping copies of "How to riot for dummies" manuals to their rivals.
"It was insulting," said Hachette spokesperson Marie Claire Duvall. "We know how to riot. We are French for goodness' sake! Have they not heard of the French Revolution! But the real insult was not the books themselves, it was that they were delivered at completely reasonable prices and in a very quick manner!"
Fisticuffs broke out early yesterday morning during an alleged contratante about some muffins that had been delivered by nearby store Amy's Baking Company - the Amazon crew apparently insisted that the food be given to Hachette, and vice-versa. Apparently there were no real injuries, although one person was airlifted to hospital through a vicious paper-cut.
"All we want," explained the Hachette spokesperson, "is a fair deal for our authors. Amazon has us over a barrel with our trousers down, and we want to make sure there's a bit of barbed wire inserted into us so that they share our pain. Our authors have been very understanding during this disagreement, and we thank them for their suffering. Once Amazon realises that they can't ask us to reduce our operating profits while simultaneously making little to no difference to our authors' own earnings, they'll crack like very thin shelled eggs."
The dispute is set to "rumble" onwards, until either a resolution is agreed that suits none of the authors involved, or Amazon buys Hachette.