Authors call on readers in Amazon book battle
By Glenn Chapman ,AFP
July 5, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
NEW YORK -- Big-name authors are calling on readers to help them get out of the cross-fire in a battle between online giant Amazon and French publishing powerhouse Hachette.
An open letter to readers picking up momentum online Thursday had racked up more than 60 signatures including those of Lee Child, James Patterson, Hilary Spurling, and Scott Turow.
"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," read the letter that bestselling author Douglas Preston has been circulating.
"It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation."
Hachette and online retail colossus Amazon are clashing over terms of a distribution contract for works handled by the publisher.
Hachette has maintained in public statements that it wants to make peace with online retail titan Amazon, but on terms that "value" the role of authors and their publishers.
Hachette criticized Amazon for treating literary works as commodities.
The open letter maintained that tactics being used by Amazon include "boycotting" Hachette authors by refusing to accept pre-orders for titles, ending price discounts and slowing deliveries.
"Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business," the letter reads.
"None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage."