Authors United Considers Next Move Against Amazon
It’s been almost a month since Authors United spent $104,000 on a two-page advert in the Sunday NY Times, and this group of 900 plus authors is contemplating what to do next.
In a recent letter to the group’s members (first posted by PW), author Doug Preston continued to criticize Amazon for its conduct in its contract dispute with Hachette, noting that "Amazon is continuing to sanction books: 2,500 Hachette authors and over 7,000 titles have now apparently been affected".
He also expresses concerns about what might happen to Simon & Schuster authors, which is reportedly in friendly negotiations with Amazon at this time, and concludes with a few hints that Authors United will be soon be taking additional steps to express its disapproval of Amazon’s conduct in the Amazon Hachette contract dispute.
I want to thank you for signing the letter, and I would also like to welcome those of you who have recently added your name to our effort.
As you may have noticed, the letter we published in the Times generated a great deal of media attention and changed the conversation. In reaction, Amazon established a "readers united" website that seems to be a corporate creation posting official Amazon corporate statements. In the process Amazon managed to misquote George Orwell (which generated this response from the George Orwell estate.)
Amazon is continuing to sanction books: 2,500 Hachette authors and over 7,000 titles have now apparently been affected. Hachette authors have seen their sales at Amazon decline at least 50% and in many cases as much as 90%. This has been going on for six months and it has been particularly damaging to struggling debut and midlist authors. Amazon is reportedly in negotiations with Simon & Schuster and we can only hope they will not start targeting S&S books next.
Amazon has been falsely trying to depict us as "rich" authors who are seeking higher e-book prices, while it is fighting on behalf of the consumer for lower prices. Unfortunately, some media outlets have bought this Amazon disinformation campaign. We have not, of course, made any statements whatsoever on book pricing. Our point is simple: we believe it is unacceptable for Amazon to sanction books as a negotiating tactic. Amazon has other negotiating tools at its disposal than harming the very authors who helped it become one of the largest retailers in the world. Amazon could stop the sanctions tomorrow while continuing to negotiate with Hachette.
And so we are forced to move on to our next initiative. I will be asking you once again for the use of your good name — perhaps as soon as next week. Stay tuned.
Again, I want to thank you most sincerely for your courage in standing up for books and the literary community. I will be in touch.
image by Valerie Everett
Bob Mayer September 4, 2014 um 7:41 pm
But Doug Preston is rich.
And why don’t they just pull their books from Amazon. Until they do so, their arguments carry no weight.
Ted September 4, 2014 um 9:40 pm
As those on the Hachette side look to be using the same arguments, and may actually be the same individuals, who claimed the absolute righteousness of Jobs and the Big Five when the conspired to fix ebook prices, and who cried foul upon evil Amazon , I am not shedding any tears. Nor reading any more of these one-sided updates.
Angela Booth September 5, 2014 um 1:23 am
I am SO ashamed of myself… or at least, I’m trying to be. I should be in solidarity with all authors, not snickering at this slow-motion train wreck.
This is what baffles me. Preston says: "Hachette authors have seen their sales at Amazon decline at least 50% and in many cases as much as 90%."
Geez, no kidding?
Why is this Amazon’s fault, by all that’s holy?
You’d think that Hachette authors would be screaming at Hachette to sell their books in any way they can, Amazon or no Amazon, or threaten to sue them for breach of contract. After all, they did license their books to Hachette to SELL — how they sell them is Hachette’s business.
Preston’s sniveling that: "we believe it is unacceptable for Amazon to sanction books as a negotiating tactic" reminds you of a five-year-old screaming: "It’s just NOT FAIR!"
Yes, I am SO ashamed… (snicker.) 🙂
Mick Rooney September 5, 2014 um 6:20 am
So Douglas Preston is ready to put his Hachette vest on again. I’m sure Amazon are quaking in their boots. So Preston & Authors United, now $104k lighter in the pocket following their vanity-fueled New York Times advert, are about to surprise Amazon with some shock and awe tactics. Having put their money where their mouths are, is Preston and Authors United now finally ready to do what I suggested he should do two months ago, request his publisher withdraw all his books from Amazon?
Will Entrekin September 5, 2014 um 8:16 am
Er. It was the New York Times who profiled him at the rural hamlet where he summers reading Thoreau…
Nate Hoffelder September 5, 2014 um 8:56 am
Plus the fact that they can afford to waste $104,000 on an advert.
William D. O’Neil September 5, 2014 um 9:46 am
In for a penny, in for a pound. Having made fools of themselves to such an extent, Patterson and his core group will feel compelled to try to vindicate themselves by shouting louder, on and on and on. Best to tune out now.
puzzled September 5, 2014 um 5:59 pm
Clearly, Douglas Preston is an author of fiction…