is facing another PR backlash over its ongoing dispute with publisher Hachette as a group of more than 900 authors have signed a letter demanding that the Seattle online retailer resolve the fight, and live up to its corporate mantra of “Earth’s most customer-centric company.”

The group, operating under the name Author’s United, plans to reprint the letter in a full page ad in The New York Times this Sunday. The letter reprints the email address of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and asks readers to email him with their thoughts.

“It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation,” the letter reads. “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.”

Author Douglas Preston, who initially penned the letter and is published by Hachette, tells The New York Times that has “turned its back” on authors. issued this statement to The New York Times about the latest salvo from the authors, many of whom are not published through Hachette.

“First, Hachette was willing to break the law to get higher e-book prices, and now they’re determined to keep their own authors in the line of fire in order to achieve that same end. Amazon has made three separate proposals to take authors out of the middle, all of which Hachette has quickly dismissed.”

Comedian Stephen Colbert— whose books are published through Hachette — blasted Amazon earlier this year. In the June episode, Colbert ripped Jeff Bezos — comparing him to Lord Voldermort, the villain in Harry Potter — and finished the piece by giving the middle finger through a packaging box. With both hands.

He has not signed the letter, but many other notable authors have joined fight, including Jon Krakauer, Sherman Alexie, Scott Turow, Nora Roberts and Malcolm Gladwell.

Previously on GeekWire: Amazon: Why $9.99 e-books are better for everyone, including HachetteAmazon wants to give 100% of revenue to e-book authors as Hachette dispute continues

Here is the full letter:

Amazon is involved in a commercial dispute with the book publisher Hachette , which owns Little, Brown, Grand Central Publishing, and other familiar imprints. These sorts of disputes happen all the time between companies and they are usually resolved in a corporate back room.

But in this case, Amazon has done something unusual. It has directly targeted Hachette’s authors in an effort to force their publisher to agree to its terms.

For the past several months, Amazon has been:

–Boycotting Hachette authors, by refusing to accept pre-orders on Hachette authors’ books and eBooks, claiming they are “unavailable.”

–Refusing to discount the prices of many of Hachette authors’ books.

–Slowing the delivery of thousands of Hachette authors’ books to Amazon customers, indicating that delivery will take as long as several weeks on most titles.

–Suggesting on some Hachette authors’ pages that readers might prefer a book from a non-Hachette author instead.

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. 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.”

Many of us have supported Amazon since it was a struggling start-up. Our books launched Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations. We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years have contributed so much, free of charge, to the company by way of cooperation, joint promotions, reviews and blogs. This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends. 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. None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage. (We’re not alone in our plea: the opinion pages of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which rarely agree on anything, have roundly condemned Amazon’s corporate behavior.)

We call on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette without further hurting authors and without blocking or otherwise delaying the sale of books to its customers.

We respectfully ask you, our loyal readers, to email Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at, and tell him what you think. He says he genuinely welcomes hearing from his customers and claims to read all emails at that account. We hope that, writers and readers together, we will be able to change his mind.


Megan Abbott
Robert H. Abel
Rachael Acks
William M. Adler
Elisa Albert
William Alexander
Sherman Alexie
Mike Allen
Jonathan Ames
Laurie Halse Anderson
Roger Angle
Carol Anshaw
Anne Applebaum
Debby Applegate
Kelley Armstrong
Rilla Askew
Rick Atkinson
James David Audlin
Paul Auster
Ellis Avery
Barbe Awalt
Gillian Bagwell
Blake Bailey
Deirdre Bair
Jo Baker
Kevin Baker
Mishell Baker
David Baldacci
Melissa Bank
Linwood Barclay
Evelyn Barish
Juliana Barnet
Rebecca Barnhouse
Nevada Barr
Quentin Bates
Elif Batuman
Douglas Bauer
Erica Bauermeister
Cris Beam
Greg Bear
James Beauregard
Antony Beevor
Adam Begley
Louis Begley
Hilari Bell
Madison Smartt Bell
Martine Bellen
Sam Bellotto Jr.
Aimee Bender
Karen E. Bender
Lou J. Berger
Daniel Bergner
Bob Berman
Anne Bernays
Suzanne Berne
Steve Berry
Lauren Beukes
Clara Bingham
Lisa Birnbach
Michael Bishop
Lauren Bjorkman
Holly Black
Shayla Black
Grant Blackwood
Linda M. Bland
Meredith Bland
David W. Blight
Carole Bloom
Cas Blomberg
Deborah Blum
Judy Blundell
Charles Bock
Amy Boesky
Paul Bogard
Johnny D. Boggs
Chris Bohjalian
Robert M. Bolstad
Marianne Boruch
Joanna Bourke
Betsy Connor Bowen
Walt Boyes
Ben Bradlee Jr.
Mike Bradley
Jess Brallier
Taylor Branch
H.W. Brands
Kylie Brant
Gary Braver
Catherine Brennan
Marie Brennan
Alan Brennert
Morgan S. Brilliant
Douglas Brinkley
Pope Brock
Laura Brodie
Lora Brody
Geraldine Brooks
Harriet Brown
Jennifer Brown
Lisa Brown
Sandra Brown
Bliss Broyard
Cathy Marie Buchanan
Marina Budhos
Christopher Buehlman
Kate Buford
Jan Burke
Cherie Burns
Benjamin Busch
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Pat Cadigan
Susannah Cahalan
Chelsea Cain
Kenneth Cain
Susan Cain
Wayne Caldwell
Philip Caputo
Jacqueline Carey
Peter Ames Carlin
Ron Carlson
Robert A. Caro
David Carothers
Cynthia Carr
H.G. Carrillo
Betsy Carter
Mary E. Carter
Carol Cassella
Brian Castner
Michael Chabon
Rebecca Chance
Angie Chau
Thomas Chavez
Susan Cheever
Ron Chernow
Harriet Scott Chessman
Jaima Chevalier
Tracy Chevalier
Jennifer Chiaverini
Lee Child
Lincoln Child
Mark Childress
Kate Christensen
Jill Ciment
Sandra Cisneros
Breena Clarke
Antoinette Nora Claypoole
Meg Waite Clayton
Andrew Clements
Katherine Clements
Rachel Cline
Mick Cochrane
David B. Coe
William D. Cohan
Leah Hager Cohen
James Collins
Suzanne Collins
Tom Connor
Christopher D. Cook
Stephanie Cooke
Martha Cooley
Ellen Cooney
Karen Coody Cooper
Artemis Cooper
Constance Cooper
Jen Corace
Zizou Corder
Douglas Corleone
Kelly Corrigan
Bruce Coville
Robert Crais
Sara Creasy
Sharon Creech
Elizabeth Crook
Dave Cullen
Robert Dallek
William Dalrymple
Mark Z. Danielewski
Leslie Daniels
Jack Dann
Ellen Datlow
Saul David
Lauren B. Davis
Lindsey Davis
Angela Davis-Gardner
Jeffery Deaver
Barbara Dee
Jonathan Dee
Dale DeGroff
Barbara Delinsky
Nelson DeMille
David Denby
Jerry Dennis
Hannah Dennison
William Deresiewicz
Mary Alice Deveny
Julia DeVillers
Junot Díaz
Mary Lou Dickinson
David Dobbs
Anthony Doerr
Linda Donn
Beverly Donofrio
James Donovan
David R. Dow
Brendan DuBois
Andre Dubus III
Sarah Dunant
Andy Duncan
Tom Dunkel
Susan Edmiston
Jennifer Egan
Martha Egan
Robert Eggleton
Benita Eisler
Amal El-Mohtar
Kimberly Elkins
Elissa Elliott
Kate Elliott
Abby Ellin
Carson Ellis
Joseph J. Ellis
P.N. Elrod
Ken Emerson
Alexandra Enders
Terry England
Hallie Ephron
Catherine Epstein
Mark Epstein
Pamela Erens
Mark Essig
Sir Harold Evans
Anne Fadiman
Susan Faludi
Ellen Feldman
Joshua Ferris
Lucy Ferriss
Amanda Filipacchi
Joseph Finder
William Finnegan
Suzanne Finstad
Eric Fischl
Janet Fitch
Stona Fitch
Paul Fleischman
Ronald Florence
Nick Flynn
Tom Folsom
Alison Ashley Formento
Richard Thompson Ford
Amanda Foreman
J.L. Forrest
Connie May Fowler
Karen Joy Fowler
Ruth E. Francis
Diana Pharaoh Francis
Judith Frank
Thaisa Frank
Laurie Frankel
Caroline Fraser
Laura Fraser
Ian Frazier
John Freeman
Pamela Freeman
Ru Freeman
Richard E. Friesen
Gregory Frost
Laura Furman
Neal Gabler
Peter Gadol
Mary Gaitskill
Nicole Galland
Jack Gantos
Nasario Garcia
Barbara Garson
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Jaym Gates
Alison Gaylin
Elizabeth George
Giuseppe Gerbino
Denise Giardina
Elizabeth Gilbert
Susan Jane Gilman
Jennifer Gilmore
Malcolm Gladwell
Krystyna Poray Goddu
Peter Godwin
Glen David Gold
Stephen Goldin
Beverly Gologorsky
Laurence Gonzales
Arquímedes González
Brad Gooch
Alison Gopnik
Jim Gorant
Mary Gordon
Meryl Gordon
Angeline Goreau
Steven Gould
Philip Gourevitch
Marie Grace
Cheryl Grace
D.G. Grace
Heather Graham
Linda Grant
Elizabeth Graver
George Dawes Green
Jeff Greenwald
Dr. David H. Grinspoon
John Grisham
Andrew Gross
Michael Gruber
Lisa Grunwald
Talia Gryphon
Kevin Guilfoile
Melissa Guion
Allan Gurganus
Beth Gutcheon
Dan Gutman
Mark Haddon
Steven Hahn
Loretta Hall
Karen Hall
Emma Walton Hamilton
Jane Hamilton
Masha Hamilton
Mary Stewart Hammond
Patricia Hampl
Elizabeth Hand
Daniel Handler a.k.a Lemony Snicket
Sharon Hanna
Sophie Hannah
Thor Hanson
Alyssa Harad
Elizabeth Harlan
Ann Harleman
Stephan J. Harper
Stephen Harrigan
Ellen Harris
Sam Harris
C.C. Harrison
Carolyn Hart
Aaron Hartzler
Adrianne Harun
Yona Harvey
Todd Hasak-Lowy
Molly Haskell
Susan Carol Hauser
Katherine B. Hauth
John Twelve Hawks
Roy Hayes
Terrance Hayes
Toby Fesler Heathcotte
Jeff Hecht
Travis Heermann
Sarah Hegger
Ursula Hegi
Charles Ota Heller
Marla Heller
Kaui Hart Hemmings
Amy Hempel
Lauren Henderson
Joshua Henkin
Greg Herren
Peggy Herrington
Rachel Herz
Carol DeChellis Hill
Joe Hill
Anne Hillerman
Brenda Hillman
Hilary Hinzmann
Tom Hirschfeld
Jack Hitt
Sylvia Anna Hivén
Valerie Hobbs
Mary Ann Hoberman
Sheri Holman
Rachel Holmes
Woody Holton
Ed Hoornaert
Ellen Hopkins
Deborah Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson
James D. Hornfischer
Shel Horowitz
Tony Horwitz
Silas House
Hugh Howard
James Howe
Del Howison
Mary Hudson
Laird Hunt
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Gregg Hurwitz
Nancy Huston
Siri Hustvedt
Elisabeth Hyde
Amy Ignatow
Gerald Imber, M.D.
Susan Isaacs
Steve Jackson
Diane Jacobs
Linda Jaivin
Michael Jecks
Suzanne Jenkins
Sarah Jensen
Erika Johansen
Gilbert John
Fenton Johnson
Brian Jay Jones
Steve Jones
Michaele Jordan
Sam Jordison
Mike Jung
Sebastian Junger
A.P. Von K’Ory
Judi Kadden
Bonita Kale
Stephanie Kallos
Robert Kanigel
Andrew Kaplan
James Kaplan
Jim Kaplan
Paul Karasik
Mary Karr
John Katzenbach
Joe Kelly
Judith Kelman
Joshua Kendall
Katrina Kenison
Brad Kessler
Frances Kiernan
Martin Kihn
Sarah S. Kilborne
Daniel M. Kimmel
A.S. King
Dave King
Lily King
Stephen King
Tabitha King
Barbara Kingsolver
Maxine Hong Kingston
Dave Kinney
Floris M. Kleijne
Christina Baker Kline
Alethea Kontis
Lily Koppel
Anne Korkeakivi
Michael Koryta
Sally Koslow
Alex Kotlowitz
Stephen Kotowych
Jon Krakauer
Mark Kramer
Matthew Kressel
Katherine Kurs
Sandra Gail Lambert
Anne Landsman
Eve Laplante
Erik Larson
Lee Adair Lawrence
Roland Lazenby
Linda Lear
Nicole J. LeBoeuf
Cherie Lee
Vicki T. Lee
Joan Leegant
Dennis Lehane
Jim Lehrer
Kate Lehrer
Stina Leicht
Bobbie Leigh
Thomas P. Leiker
Brad Leithauser
Dinah Lenney
Anne Leonard
Peter Lerangis
Edward M. Lerner
John Lescroart
Diane Leslie
Jonathan Lethem
Tom Levenson
Phillis Levin
David D. Levine
Judith Levine
Jim Lewis
Michael Lewis
Norma Libman
Katia Lief
Terr Light
Alan Lightman
Jane Lindskold
Elinor Lipman
Laura Lippman
Jonathan Littell
Aimee Liu
Malinda Lo
Michaele Lockhart
Lois Lowry
David Lubar
Jason Erik Lundberg
Steve Luxenberg
William Lychack
Barry Lyga
Anne Lyle
Larissa MacFarquhar
Karen Mack
Kenneth Mack
Elizabeth Macklin
Kathy Macmillan
Greg Mandel
Tim Manley
Annam Manthiram
Jo-Ann Mapson
Meredith Maran
David Maraniss
Andrew Marble
Paul Mariani
Regina Marler
Melissa Marr
William Martin
Valerie Martin
Michael J. Martinez
Judith Matloff
Mark Matousek
Suzanne Matson
John Matteson
Alice Mattison
Claudia Mauro
Laurie McBride
Erin Lindsay McCabe
Donald McCaig
T.C. McCarthy
Lyn McConchie
Jack McDevitt
Richard P. McDonough
Heather McDougal
Michael McGarrity
Celia McGee
Erin McGraw
Jay McInerney
Will McIntosh
Maryn McKenna
Chris McKitterick
Terry McMillan
Maggie Meade
Marion Meade
Jodi Meadows
Jillian Medoff
Mameve Medwed
Brian Meehl
Edie Meidav
Brad Meltzer
Daniel Menaker
Daniel Mendelsohn
Susan Scarf Merrell
T.M. Merremont
Karla Linn Merrifield
Christopher Merrill
Ashley Merryman
Claire Messud
David Michaelis
Lisa Michaels
Deborah Michel
Margaret Dubay Mikus
James Andrew Miller
Sue Miller
Lyn Miller-Lachmann
R.J. Mirabal
Rana Mitter
Laura J. Mixon
Seth Mnookin
David Moles
Anna Monardo
Elizabeth Moon
Christopher Moore
Honor Moore
Caroline Moorehead
Harry Morales
Phyllis S. Morgan
Courtney Morgan
David Morrell
James McGrath Morris
Eleanor Morse
Jennifer Anne Moses
Anka Muhlstein
Marcia Muller
Meg Mullins
Manuel Munoz
Carol Muske-Dukes
Donna Jackson Nakazawa
David Nasaw
Sena Jeter Naslund
Antonya Nelson
Kris Neri
Jay Neugeboren
Cal Newport
Travis Nichols
Katharine Noel
G.E. Nordell
Leonard Nourse
Elizabeth Nunez
Sigrid Nunez
Carol O’Connell
Brigid O’Farrell
Rick O’Keefe
Joseph O’Neill
Meghan O’Rourke
Regina O’Melveny
James O’Shea
Patricia O’Toole
Achy Obejas
Nancy Ohlin
Daniel Okrent
Karl Olsberg
Mark Olshaker
Peggy Orenstein
Peter Orner
Mary Pope Osborne
A.J. Osorio
Whitney Otto
Elizabeth Oberbeck
Ruth Ozeki
Ann Packer
ZZ Packer
Nell Painter
Ann Pancake
Sara Paretsky
T. Jefferson Parker
Thomas Trebitsch Parker
Jonathan Parshall
Ann Patchett
Dorothy Patent
Greg Patent
Susan Patron
James Patterson
Richard North Patterson
Paula Paul
Jackson Pearce
Iain Pears
Shelley Pearsall
Ridley Pearson
Kira Peikoff
George Pelecanos
Sharon Kay Penman
Sara Pennypacker
Benjamin Percy
Tom Perrotta
Joan K. Peters
Andrew X. Pham
Rodman Philbrick
Arthur Phillips
Leslie Pietrzyk
Steven Pinker
Jorge Pinto
Valerie Plame
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Lesley Poling-Kempes
Michael Pollan
Neil Port
Maximillian Potter
Ron Powers
William Powers
Douglas Preston
Bill Pronzini
Alex Prud’homme
Philip Pullman
Tom Purdom
Joyce Purnick
Anna Quindlen
Julia Quinn
Karen Quinn
Elizabeth Raby
Linda F. Radke
Hope Ramsay
Jay Rayner
Victoria Redel
Christopher Reich
Paul Reid
Andrea Reusing
Adam Rex
Paul Rhetts
Janet R. Rhodes
Dr. Sonya Rhodes
Jerome Richard
Michelle Richmond
Cynthia Riggs
Margaret Roach
David Roberts
Nora Roberts
Madeleine Robins
Kim Stanley Robinson
Roxana Robinson
Michaela Roessner
Barbara Rogan
Morgan Callan Rogers
Katie Roiphe
Carl Rollyson
Robin Romm
Ronald Rosbottom
Joel Rose
David S. Rose
William Rosen
Lucinda Rosenfeld
Benjamin Rosenbaum
Elizabeth Rosner
Inez Ross
Deborah J. Ross
David Rothenberg
Pat Rothfuss
Chuck Rothman
Elizabeth Royte
Charlie Rubin
Michael Ruhlman
Richard Russo
Shawna Yang Ryan
Cynthia Saltzman
Martin A. Samuels
Lynda A. Sánchez
James Sanders
Luc Sante
Esmeralda Santiago
Mark Sarvas
George Saunders
Sam Savage
Joan Schenkar
Ron Schick
Stacy Schiff
Cathleen Schine
Susan Schneider
Daniel Schulman
Deborah Schupack
Christine Schutt
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Edward Schwarzschild
John Sedgwick
Maria Semple
Linda Gray Sexton
Bob Shacochis
Lawrence Shainberg
Kamila Shamsie
Dani Shapiro
Susan Shapiro
Bruce Shapiro
Kathleen Sharp
Judy Sheehan
Gail Sheehy
Aaron Shepard
Mike Shevdon
Jody Shields
Charles J. Shields
Peggy Shinner
Gary Shockley
Jennie Shortridge
Elaine Showalter
Anita Shreve
Susan Shreve
Alix Kates Shulman
Hampton Sides
Larry Siems
Joan Silber
Kenneth Silverman
Dan Simmons
April Sinclair
Leora Skolkin-Smith
Holly Goldberg Sloan
Gillian Slovo
Jane Smiley
Anne Easter Smith
April Smith
Dwayne Alexander Smith
Lane Smith
Mark Haskell Smith
Sally Bedell Smith
Sharon Snyder
Andrew Solomon
Deborah Solomon
Sherri Somerville
Debra Spark
Scott Spencer
Mario Spezi
Dana Spiotta
Hilary Spurling
Walter Stahr
Lynn Stegner
Garth Stein
Thomas Steinbeck
Sabra Brown Steinsiek
Leslie Stella
John Stephens
Sydney Ladensohn Stern
Brooke Stevens
Ian Stewart
T.J. Stiles
Alexander Stille
S.M. Stirling
John E. Stith
James Stoddard
Rebecca Stott
Peter Straub
Cheryl Strayed
Elizabeth Strout
Nancy Rubin Stuart
Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Ned Stuckey-French
Alexandra Styron
Cheryl Sucher
Mark Sullivan
Ellen Sussman
Robert I. Sutton
Terese Svoboda
Kiki Swanson
Michael Swanwick
Alison Sweeney
Will Swift
Rachel Swirsky
Sam Swope
David Tallerman
Marc Talbert
Cecilia Tan
Donna Tartt
Nick Taylor
Catherine Texier
Phyllis Theroux
Evan Thomas
David Thurlo
Lynne Tillman
Amy Timberlake
M.K. Tod
Peter Trachtenberg
James Treadwell
Rose Tremain
Calvin Trillin
Lily Tuck
Kenneth Turan
William A. Turnage
Scott Turow
Frederic Tuten
Cameron Tuttle
Gene Twaronite
Rachel Urquhart
Rachel Vail
Amanda Vaill
Neela Vaswani
John Vernon
Judith Viorst
Milton Viorst
Patricia Volk
Helena Maria Viramontes
Ken Wachsberger
Diana Wagman
Wendy Wagner
Dan Wakefield
Amy Waldman
Ayelet Waldman
Allison Wallace
Benjamin Wallace
Carol Wallace
Candace Walsh
Jess Walter
Geoffrey C. Ward
Melanie Warner
Frank Warren
Rosanna Warren
Elisabeth Waters
Ian Watson
Beck Weathers
Eric Weiner
Katherine Weissman
Rebecca Wells
Carol Weston
Stephen White
Dean Whitlock
Thomas A. Williams
Florence Williams
Cheryl Wilson
Robley Wilson
Simon Winchester
Terri Windling
Brenda Wineapple
Kit Wohl
Mary Wolf
Linda Wolfe
Tobias Wolff
Hilma Wolitzer
Meg Wolitzer
Patricia Smith Wood
Monica Wood
Stuart Woods
Barbara Wright
Lawrence Wright
Dulce Xerach
Linda Yellin
Natasha Yim
Jane Yolen
Louisa Young
Robert Clark Young
Caroline Yourcheck
Barry Yourgrau
Cynthia Zarin
Michael Zeilik
Thomas Zigal
Richard Zimler
Michelle Zink
Markus Zusak
Maritess Zurbano

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Kary

    Sad that 900 authors don’t have a clue what is in their best financial interest, not to mention getting their materials more widely read. I’m going to assume most of them write fiction? ;-)

    • Travis Nichols

      Guess you’re not much of a reader, Kary.

      “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.”

      “We call on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette without further hurting authors and without blocking or otherwise delaying the sale of books to its customers.”

      • Kary

        Huh? I don’t see how that changes the fact that the authors should be on Amazon’s side. The authors should take sides. Hachette’s position is stupid for Hanchette, stupid for its authors, stupid for consumers. Hachette doesn’t even know what is in its own interest. If I were an author I’d be looking for a publisher with a bit more business sense.

        • Travis Nichols

          Well, I don’t want to be further involved in an internet argument when, for starters, neither of us knows EXACTLY what’s going on. What we can assume is that Amazon wants the power to lower prices at will and control percentages because they can get by on raaaaazor thin margins, while Hachette has to eat the cost (which affects everyone involved, including authors). And when publishers “step out of line”, Amazon gets up to these shenanigans. This happened to Macmillan (one of my publishers) a few years ago, and yes, there was a bit of… collusion… amongst publishers to try to, you know, survive as an industry. It’s the Walmartization of publishing. Slash slash slash. Stackin’ ’em deep ‘n sellin’ ’em cheap.

          I don’t know what you mean by “Hachette’s position”. The right to control what their own books cost? The right to have equal footing in the distribution arm? The right to not buckle? Again, the terms that are causing this shitshow aren’t public, so there’s really no “position” to speak of. I mean, I hate to tell a perfect stranger that they have no idea what they’re talking about, but… er…

          Some light reading with different levels of finger-pointing and blame:


          • Kary

            Amazon’s position was covered in this earlier Geekwire piece.


            Amazon’s position is economically very sound. It’s absurd to want the same amount of money for an ebook as a real book, and a publisher sticking to that position will make less money for everyone involved while simultaneously costing consumers more money.

          • GK Zachary

            Well said.

          • Bravadu

            You’re missing the part where authors are collateral damage in this dispute.

            In fact, blocking preorders is hurting individual authors more than it hurts their publisher. Amazon needs to stop this.

          • Kary

            I’m not missing that at all, and that doesn’t change the fact that what Amazon is doing is in their long term interest (even if they don’t recognize it, although for those with a new book out it would hurt them more). Also, see today’s letter from Amazon on what they’ve proposed to help the authors (not that I’m sure those things make sense). In any case though, someone who wants to buy a book doesn’t have to buy it through Amazon.

          • Bravadu

            Three points. First I’m not agreeing or disagreeing on your opinion about the long term – I simply don’t have an opinion on that.

            However why is Amazon specifically targeting and hurting one group of authors? That’s the whole point of this article in which many authors, most unaffected, get together to ask Amazon to target Hachette and not the authors.

            Yes people can buy from other retailers, but Amazon is one of the biggest and most convenient online sellers.. a monopolist you might say, and their actions seriously affects some of these authors (it’s the authors that are really complaining, not the customers)

          • Ben Duchan

            lol kary, you’re like a little old man sitting in the mud with poop in your jeans.

    • Bravadu

      It’s really simple – Amazon can negotiate with Hachette to it’s heart’s content, but the authors don’t want to be collateral damage anymore.

      Who wins and who loses if a book has preorders blocked?

      Hint: The author more than the publisher

      • DWisehart

        Aren’t the preorders just a side-issue meant to distract the public from the key issue?

        Amazon has the right to sell or not sell whatever books it wants. If it is unable to come to terms with Hachette, that it finds agreeable, it will be perfectly within Amazon’s rights to no longer sell books published by Hachette. Any books.

        Certainly this ending would be sad for the authors whose books are published by Hachette. But maybe those authors need to reconsider the consequences of siding with a publisher who cares so little about its authors as to be unwilling to negotiate a good business settlement. Let us not forget that everyone–authors, Amazon, Hachette–can do business elsewhere with other people if they no longer like the options their partners are offering them.

  • Travis Nichols

    Authors United, not Author’s United. You just got copyedited.

  • Jeanie Thompson

    The variety of writers signing the letter (from poet Brenda Hillman to memorist Fenton Johnson to bestseller Stephen King) tells me that this is an issue I should become familiar with before my next book. The thought that a major distributor would selectively work against authors by delaying a book’s delivery is reprehensible — and that’s just one of the charges. Writers, be informed!

    • GK Zachary

      Take a look at JA Konrath’s or Barry Eisler’s blogs. They both address this issue from a decidedly different perspective.

  • GK Zachary

    Amazing isn’t it, that there is no mention here (nor in the The New York Times, which should know better) of the 7,000+ writers (and still growing) who actually side with Amazon on this issue?

    • Bravadu

      That’s a point, but Amazon needs to stop blocking preorders and some of their other business practices because that’s needlessly turning authors into collateral damage.

      Amazon is turning a lot of people off with their strongarm, my-way-or-the-highway tactics

      • John S

        True. And if Amazon wants electronic book prices lower, they could do that themselves. In many cases Amazon takes two-thirds of the asking price in fees. Lower what they charge for storing ebook files, and prices could be markedly lower.

    • sean ford

      All you need to know about the value of a publisher is to compare the 900 names on the Authors United list versus the 7,000 Kindle Direct authors. Anyone who thinks Amazon is better for authors please compare and contrast those two lists. Publishers do a lot more than dump a bunch of books onto a website as Amazon would like to do. Marketing, editing, design, promotion… you know things that help you find out about a book and what it’s about. It’s completely disingenuous to compare a list of authors with the likes of Stephen King and John Grisham and Luc Sante and Junot Diaz and Jacqueline Carey and Anita Shreve on it to a list of 7000 authors who have probably only ever published via Kindle Direct and no one could name. That’s the point. A publisher is a far better caretaker for an author’s career and for books in general in this country. Amazon has lost 25% of its value since its peak in December ’13. With $800M in projected losses coming up at the end of this quarter, they’re going to keep tumbling. I’m sure Amazon is fine at delivering diapers on time, but it should let people who can parse a George Orwell quote handle books.

      • GK Zachary

        You clearly don’t know much about the publishing industry.

        • GhostofSeamus

          Indeed. He just rattled off all the memes self-publishing advocates have frequently debunked. He believes exactly what the publishers want him to. In what world does 900 < 7000?

          • GK Zachary

            It would have been nice of Sean to declare that he is on the payroll of Hachette. Hey, Sean, did you ever hear of full and honest disclosure? Or are you just shilling for Hachette?

  • Lily

    Amazon is a business and they have every right to operate in the way they see fit. If you were a bookstore and someone told you you “had to” stock books that were overpriced and did not sell enough to make a justifiable profit, you would call that unfair. And yet in the case of Amazon, you think they should be excluded from this right and sacrifice their business ideas to become the humble servant of Hachette. A business cannot survive without a profit – that is common sense.

  • SpringfieldMH

    Article fails to mention counter pro-Amazon anti-Hachette letter/petition, started independently back when Douglas Preston first started his anti-Amazon campaign, with over 8000 signatures, at

    For alternate perspectives, see see aggregator and

  • unknown

    true true but they is not knowin there goals still

Job Listings on GeekWork