Skip to main content

Authors United Revises Letter to Amazon Board, Adds More Insulting Language

14081276688_e52785f073_c[1]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. 

Author Laura Kirwan noticed the revision yesterday, and I can confirm the change. The version of the letter which I found in the Wayback Machine at the internet Archive does not match the version currently residing on the Authors United website.

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 China another 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 obstructing endangers 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

Similar Articles


Rob Siders September 19, 2014 um 3:49 pm

AU also originally thought KDP was wonderful. Not so much now. 🙂

Nate Hoffelder September 19, 2014 um 3:50 pm

Yes, that is pretty funny.

David Gaughran September 19, 2014 um 6:50 pm

Remind me tomorrow to talk about the time Author Solutions outsourced everything to China. (Before they took a grant from Mitch Daniels to move back to Indiana, waited for the terms to expire, then moved everything to the Philippines!)

puzzled September 19, 2014 um 7:19 pm

So are they going to send this version to the board of Amazon by FedEx also?

Those FedEx charges are starting to pile up…

Angela Booth September 20, 2014 um 1:30 am

How depressing. A bunch of supposedly intelligent people, but so self-obsessed and precious.

Here’s a list of the AU authors:

I decided to see who they were. Haven’t heard of most of them.

Will anyone be reading the AU crowd in 100 years? If they were alive today, I can’t imagine either Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope being anywhere near as self-involved as they are.

JK Rowling outsells most (all?) of them. They should be watching her, and taking notes. Pottermore’s been around for a couple of years. Her agreement with Sony for Pottermore has ended. She’s very clever; it will be interesting to see where she takes the site. Whatever she does, she’s not whining.

Kaz Augustin September 20, 2014 um 1:53 am

It’s bad enough being called names to my face without having so-called respected authors do it to me via a communication. I’m glad they signed their names to it because I’m not buying another book by ANY of those f*ckers ever again.

Woelf Dietrich September 20, 2014 um 2:39 am

"…nor can authors be outsourced to another country."

But finding readers from another country is fine? Their hypocrisy reeks… like a fart in a windowless room. They forget, most of us writers sitting in "other" countries are also ferocious readers, but that’s besides the point.

I’ve about had enough of these sanctimonious "victims" and their faceless allegations.

Woelf Dietrich September 20, 2014 um 7:37 am

That would be "factless" and not "faceless". My autocorrect acted without authority and slipped through when I pressed enter too quickly. :-p

Snowflakes United | Hugh Howey September 21, 2014 um 5:58 pm

[…] whom I assume know a thing or two about business and will get a laugh out of this nonsense. In fact, the letter was so offensive, that Authors United had to go back and edit it (which made it more offensive). Books written in China by Chinese authors are denigrated in the […]

Mackay Bell September 22, 2014 um 12:13 am

Not only insulting to writers of other countries, but also insulting to writers in America. The presumption is that if they don’t get enough money for their special snowflakes, there is no one else to create anything worth reading.

The real tragedy here isn’t being talked about. It’s how the economic lives of mid-list Hachette writers were destroyed when Amazon made several offers to compensate them while the dispute was being settled. These reasonable offers were rejected out of hand by Douglas Preston who appointed himself their official spokesperson. Now they are unable to go public for fear of retaliation, their books are trapped in a dispute that is not of their making, and the man supposedly speaking for them is making a mockery of their cause and likely guaranteeing the dispute will last longer than necessary.

Books are EXACTLY like razors | Hugh Howey September 24, 2014 um 1:06 pm

[…] timing of this is uncanny. After hearing from Snowflakes United that books are not like razors, and then blogging about how they used to be very much like razors, we have a story in the New York […]

Authors United Calls for Antitrust Inquiry into Amazon – The Digital Reader September 24, 2014 um 9:00 pm

[…] sides in sending a letter to Amazon’s board of directors (and then revising it so it was even more insulting), Authors United is now going to not take sides by calling for Amazon to be investigated for […]

Write a Comment