Stephen King and John Grisham among authors to take out full page ad in New York Times to protest against Amazon
More than 900 sign open letter calling for the online retailer to 'stop harming the livelihood of authors'
Saturday 09 August 2014
In the latest chapter of Amazon’s escalating conflict with the publishing industry, hundreds of major authors have backed an open letter due to run as a full page ad in the New York Times on Sunday that accuses the internet giant of preventing the sale of books published by the Hachette Book Group.
“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,” the writers say in the letter.
They refer to Amazon’s decision to delay delivery and remove the possibility of pre-orders on a range of books written by Hachette authors.
In May, Jeffrey Deaver wrote on Facebook that Amazon had increased the cost of his latest book because of their dispute with the publisher. Anna Holmes called Amazon’s behaviour “shameful” after the site posted a notice that her book takes weeks to arrive. Douglas Preston, the author leading the fight against Amazon, has found sales of his books down 62 per cent since the dispute with Amazon began.
“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’,” reads the open letter.
Of the proposed ebook deal causing the conflict, Amazon says it is attempting to “lower ebook prices," and has suggested that authors receive 100 per cent of revenue from their digital-book sales while negotiations continue; Hachette says it would be suicidal to accept the new commercial terms, and is critical of Amazon's strong-arm tactics.
The war of words has worsened in recent weeks, with Amazon calling Preston “an opportunist” and accusing Hachette of “using their authors as human shields”.
Last month UK publishers warned that Amazon is becoming “the Ryanair of publishing” and that it is destroying the industry.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 2 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 4 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
Madonna might be a stand-up comedy virgin - but she wasn't terrible
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling