In the ongoing battle over e-book prices between mega online retailer, Amazon, and multi-billion dollar conglomerate publisher, Hachette, over 900 authors signed a letter admonishing Amazon posted in the New York Times on Sunday.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr overnight last weekend, Amazon sent a letter to authors participating in its Kindle Direct Publishing program requesting that they email Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch and tell him to stop using “illegal collusion” to drive the prices of e-books up.
Amazon said in the email — posted here — that they realize it wasn’t the writer’s responsibility to fight for them:
“We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we ‘just talk.’ We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store.”
Amazon’s attempt to get their writers to do their work for them probably didn’t get the reaction they were hoping for. On Sunday, a letter ran targeting Amazon in the New York Times that was signed by 909 writers, including such modern-day literary heavyweights as Stephen King and John Grisham. The letter was written by bestselling author Douglas Preston, a man who writes thrillers that Hachette publishes.
In the letter to Amazon, Preston chastises the online retailer for pulling writers into their fight with Hachette.
“We feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sales of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want.”
According to the New York Times, Preston said that some writers initially signed the letter, but then fearfully pulled out. Others were afraid to sign it at all for fear of retribution by Amazon. One of those writers included Preston’s long-time writing partner, Lincoln Child.
About that, Lincoln Child said:
“I am very apprehensive. Not all David and Goliath stories end happily for the little guy. But I think Doug did the right thing.”
The ad in The Times cost $104,000, and was paid for by a handful of the more successful writers.
Those 909 writers who did sign the letter include Preston, the aforementioned King and Grisham, Nora Roberts, Philip Pullman, Sebastian Junger, Michael Lewis, Lemony Snicket, Malcolm Gladwell, and Robert A. Caro.
About half of Douglas Preston’s book sales come via Amazon. Since Amazon started its war against Hachette, Preston’s publisher, his total sales from Amazon are down over 60 percent.