By Kevin Ohannessian, Tech Times | August 8
Weapons have been drawn in the battle between Amazon and book publisher Hachette, but now a group of writers are betting that the pen is mightier than the sword.
A worship of writers, not unlike a pride of lions or a flock of seagulls, have banded together to take on Amazon. They have written a letter condemning Amazon for using books and their writers as part of a negotiation tactic against a publisher.
Posted at AuthorsUnited.net, the letter states, in part:
“As writers–most of us not published by Hachette–we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation. Moreover, by inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery, Amazon is contradicting its own written promise to be ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company.’
Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business. None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage.”
The letter also lists the actions that Amazon has taken against writers, including: refusing to accept pre-orders on Hachette authors’ books and eBooks; refusing to discount the prices of many of Hachette authors’ books; slowing the delivery of thousands of Hachette authors’ books to Amazon customers; suggesting on some Hachette authors’ pages that readers might prefer a book from a non-Hachette author instead.
The letter ends with a call to action, “We respectfully ask you, our loyal readers, to email Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at email@example.com, and tell him what you think. He says he genuinely welcomes hearing from his customers and claims to read all emails at that account. We hope that, writers and readers together, we will be able to change his mind.”
Among the 900+ that signed the letter are such notable authors as Michael Chabon (“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”), Suzanne Collins (“The Hunger Games”), Malcolm Gladwell (“The Tipping Point”), John Grisham (“The Firm”), Joe Hill (“Horns”), Stephen King (“Under the Dome”), James Patterson (“Alex Cross”), Phillip Pullman (“The Golden Compass”), Kim Stanley Robinson (“Red Mars”) and Pat Rothfuss (“The Name of the Wind”).
Douglas Preston (“Relic”) is the writer that lead the effort by this group of authors, including plans to run the letter as a full-page ad in The New York Times this coming Sunday.