Authors United Declares Victory Over Amazon, Announces “Merger” With The Authors Guild

Remember the book publishing industry’s astro-turfing group Authors United?

The group has been keeping a low profile since their last failed attempt to get Amazon investigated for non-existent antitrust violations (August 2015, also August 2014) and it looks like the group is throwing in the towel er, declaring victory and going home.

The Bookseller reports that Authors United head Douglas Preston sent an email to AU members announcing a shake up.

Authors United was originally set up in 2014 to push back against Amazon and its treatment of authors in its dispute with Hachette. Preston yesterday wrote to members to say that while it had prevailed against Amazon once, it was “only part of a graver situation that is not going away, but getting worse – and perhaps very, very much worse given the incoming administration”.

Explaining why Authors United had decided to merge with the Authors Guild Foundation, Preston told members: “The guild is extremely concerned about potential high-level appointments in areas that affect writers: copyright, anti-trust, libel law, and freedom of the press. The Authors Guild cannot and will not stand by while the livelihood of authors and press freedoms are under attack.”

“We prevailed against Amazon once but the struggle is far from over,” Preston said. “This is going to be a long effort and the Goliaths are only getting bigger and more powerful.”

The Guild will continue the work of Authors United on behalf of writers.

I just love Preston’s revisionist history, don’t you?

His group failed to achieve any visible change in Amazon’s practices or conduct, and Authors United also failed several times in 2014 and 2015 to get Amazon investigated for alleged antitrust violations, and yet Preston still says that the group triumphed over Amazon.

I know that authors frequently invent new meanings for words, but inverting the dictionary definition of “prevail” is going a step too far. (Unless he meant it sarcastically, in which case that sentence would make a lot more sense.)

Authors United was was created in 2014 during the Hachette-Amazon contract dispute, and it has always taken the legacy publishing industry’s position against a company which has created more opportunities for authors to reach readers than authors have ever had before.

From its beginning Authors United w as a puppet for the book publishing industry, and now it is a late and unlamented puppet.

Good riddance.

P.S. I am still waiting for a statement from The Authors Guild on the supposed merger. I will update this post with the official statement when it is released.

image by MIKI Yoshihito

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Chris Meadows7 December, 2016

    And lose we did

    Slunk back to our offices
    Declaring victory

    —“Strike!” from “Commentary: The Musical” (on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog)

  2. Will Entrekin7 December, 2016

    Interesting spin. I’d be interested to see how many members of Authors United were also members of the Authors Guild already. My guess is what they’re spinning as a “merger” is really just their best way to sunset AU.

  3. Aaron Shepard7 December, 2016

    Authors United helped pressure Amazon to the bargaining table to work out a settlement that was satisfactory to Hachette. Where were you? Apparently in the Amazon cheerleader section, shouting too loudly to observe any facts.

    1. Nate Hoffelder7 December, 2016

      The problem with that claim is that Amazon required no pressure to quietly and quickly sign a deal with S&S while the Hachette ruckus was going on. The deals with the other Big Five publishers were also signed so quickly that we only found out afterwards.

      Please tell me what pressure AU brought to those other deals, and then I will concede that they had influence.

  4. Smart Debut Author7 December, 2016

    Preston claiming AU had any effect upon Amazon’s Hachette deal is like a rooster claiming that its squawking is why the sun rose.

    Everyone had forgotten all about the embarrassing AU fiasco; bozo should’ve just kept silent.

  5. DaveMich7 December, 2016

    Preston got sick of answering emails, so he’s transferring the address and the membership list to AG.

    1. Nate Hoffelder8 December, 2016

      LOL that’s the best explanation yet.

  6. M Blackwell8 December, 2016

    Another example of “post truth” at work. Maybe he hoped the lie was big enough to be believed, or maybe he is hoping Eagle Rising will pick up the story.

  7. Mrs. Mac8 December, 2016

    Bah! When AU published their first big ad, I made note of every author who was part of the whole fiasco and I stopped buying their books. I also stopped checking any of their books out of the library. I’ve discovered several decent authors since then, and I’m never at a loss for something to read. AU, don’t need you. 😉 😀

  8. […] Authors United Declares Victory Over Amazon, Announces "Merger" With The Authors Guild […]

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