Apparently Authors United has decided that they haven’t received enough criticism for the open letter they sent to the Amazon board of directors earlier this week, because they’ve quietly revised said letter to be more insulting.
That letter still has the typo in the first line, and it still misquotes Russ Grandinetti, but where the original letter made a swipe at Chinese authors, the new version of the letter replaced it with a general dig at all non-US writers.
If you are interested, you can see the differences here:
There are several minor changes, but the important changes can all be found in this paragraph. I’ve bolded the new bits, and crossed out the deletions.
Amazon has every right to refuse to sell consumer goods in response to a pricing disagreement with a wholesaler.
We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes.But books are not mere consumer goods. Books cannot be written more cheaply, nor can authors be outsourced to Chinaanother country. Books are not toasters or televisions. Each book is the unique, quirky creation of a lonely, intense, and often expensive struggle on the part of a single individual, a person whose living depends on his or her book finding readers. This is the process Amazon is obstructingendangers when it uses its tremendous power to separate authors from their readership.
I had missed the dig about China when I covered the letter on Monday because I was distracted by the illogic in the other part of that sentence, but others caught it and criticized AU for bashing China.
In response, Authors United decided to disparage all non-US authors as equally inferior to US authors. I guess AU, a group ostensibly started to protect authors from the trepidations of Amazon, is only interested in defending the right kind of authors.
Never has any group so clearly epitomized the definition of a committee: the only life form with 12 stomachs and no brain. Clearly no more thought went into this revision than into the original letter – not unless the skull sweat was invested in how to make it worse.
image by Anne Worner