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SFWA ‘doubles down’ in support of Douglas Preston’s petition
July 8, 2014 | 6:26 am

sfwaPassive Guy over at The Passive Voice reports receiving an email from SFWA headed “SFWA doubling down,” clarifying its position on signing onto Douglas Preston’s open letter decrying Amazon’s hardball tactics in its negotiation with Hachette. (Odd that they didn’t also send it to me, given that TPV carried the story I posted about it in the first place.) The letter reads as follows: SFWA’s support of Douglas Preston’s open letter reflects our concern about Amazon’s tactics in their dispute with Hachette and the way those tactics are impacting writers and their careers. We are,...

Chuck Wendig fires back against Hugh Howey-led pro-Amazon petition
July 7, 2014 | 12:27 pm

Author Chuck Wendig (who? Oh, that Chuck Wendig) has posted a counterblast to the recent petition calling on Hachette to settle its dispute with Amazon and "stop fighting low prices and fair wages." And Wendig's words are already getting some airing on Publishers Lunch and elsewhere (under the headline "Hugh Howey Launches Petition Thanking Amazon; Amazon Author Wendig Responds"), so it's worth going over them to see ... what they're worth. This isn't to belittle the good points that Wendig does make about the petition and the pro-Amazon camp - there are quite a few of those. But there are quite...

Big Five publishers, it’s time for some tough love
July 6, 2014 | 4:32 pm

ToughLoveSo, Andrew Updegrove has a blog post in which he expresses concern about the future of competition in publishing. (Found via The Passive Voice.) His thesis seems to be that traditional publishers exert a competitive pressure on Amazon—Amazon can’t lower the rates it pays self-publishing writers as long as traditional publishers represent some kind of alternative. He writes: If Hatchette and the other big publishers are successful in holding off Amazon, then it’s pretty safe to assume that not much will change with the way they do business. But if Amazon wins, the traditional publishers will...

Indie authors strike back for Amazon in petition wars
July 6, 2014 | 4:07 pm

Change.jpgIn a welcome sign that the anti-Amazon camp is not having things all its own way in the battle for hearts and minds between the Bezos Behemoth and Hachette, a group of self published and independent authors have got together to launch a petition on Change.org in favor of Amazon, calling on Hachette to: "Stop fighting low prices and fair wages." As at the time of writing, it stands at 4788 signatures - 4789 as soon as I've had a chance to add mine. The petition itself, launched by "concerned readers and writers," is fairly short, and reverts to Amazon's original proposal...

In taking sides in Amazon/Hachette dispute, John Scalzi tells readers to do as he says, not as he does
July 4, 2014 | 3:48 am

John Scalzi has written a blog post noting that publishing “is not a football game” and people shouldn’t be rushing to take sides. Like many of Scalzi’s posts, it seems superficially reasonable. Scalzi’s point seems to be that business is business, and big companies aren’t your friend or your enemy—they do what big companies do, which is whatever is best for them. Their interests might align with yours, or not. That doesn’t mean they like you or hate you. (Though he does make clear he thinks “what Amazon’s doing to US Hachette authors at the moment well and truly sucks.”)...

SFWA endorses Douglas Preston’s open letter without consulting its membership
July 4, 2014 | 2:43 am

Two “open letters” came out yesterday, one berating Amazon and another praising it. Now it turns out that SFWA has emailed its membership endorsing one of those letters, and it should be pretty easy to guess which one. Author Don Sakers has posted an essay to his blog complaining that the SFWA has endorsed Douglas Preston’s letter. Sakers, an independent author who makes most of his sales through Amazon, is annoyed that SFWA’s leadership did not make any attempt to consult or discuss the matter with its members before acting, and points out that this comes only a...

Are Amazon editors really that independent?
July 3, 2014 | 4:25 pm

As Amazon finally steps up its own defense in the ongoing spat with Hachette to the tune of well-orchestrated background noise, one of the odder appearances to come out is a piece in Digital Book World declaring "Amazon Editors Independent, Above Hachette-Amazon Fray." States the article, "Editors at Amazon who make decisions about the retailer’s 'best books' and featured picks work independently of the team negotiating with publisher Hachette over a new agreement between the firms." It then goes on to cite Amazon's "two lists of featured books meant to entice readers to buy," the Amazon’s Best Books of 2014 (So...

Really twisted logic here
July 3, 2014 | 1:00 pm

confused_guyAs I'm sure many are doing, I was contemplating the coverage of the whole Amazon/Hachette thing, and I think I twisted myself up with the logic of certain people writing about the issues. Walk through this with me and see if it tracks. Authors such as Douglas Preston are publishing or signing open letters complaining that Amazon is "Refusing to discount the prices of many of Hachette’s authors’ books." It seems a reasonable assumption that the Amazon/Hachette disagreement has something to do with Hachette wanting a return to agency pricing. The assumption is supported by the recent move by Macmillan and S&S filing a...

Hugh Howey launches Change.org petition letter thanking readers for their support
July 3, 2014 | 11:49 am

You know that open letter I mentioned Douglas Preston circulating? Self-published author Hugh Howey has just launched one of his own, as a Change.org petition from self-publishing writers, thanking readers for their support, explaining self-published authors’ side of the Amazon/Hachette feud, and asking them not to boycott Amazon. It’s a remarkably clever idea, and already has over 500 signatures. The letter, and signatures below it, are replete with endorsements from authors explaining that Amazon has made it possible for them to earn a living, or (in my case), expect to earn a living at some point, from self-publishing their...

Douglas Preston decries Amazon tactics against Hachette authors (Updated)
July 3, 2014 | 4:25 am

Well, he’s at it again. Long-time TeleRead readers might remember Douglas Preston as the author who complained about readers’ “sense of entitlement” for wanting cheap e-books, only to backpedal rather hastily when the complaint sparked a reader backlash. Yesterday, Jeffrey Trachtenberg reported in the Wall Street Journal that Preston has been circulating an open letter among various authors complaining that Amazon has been unfairly targeting Hachette authors in its recent contract negotiations with their publisher. He has reportedly received support from a number of big names (including, predictably, James Patterson) and will be posting the letter to his...

New York Public Library panel: ‘Amazon: threat or menace?’
July 2, 2014 | 11:33 am

Origin 712014 71734 PMWell, the New York Public Library panel discussion on Amazon was a big disappointment. I suppose I should have expected it, given how the panel was stacked with some of Amazon’s harshest critics and others from the old-guard publishing industry, but I had harbored some hope they might be willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Unfortunately, it was even worse than I’d feared. The 90-minute video is available at the livestream page if you want to watch the carnage. First of all, the meeting was clearly put together with an anti-Amazon agenda, as the selection of...

New York Public Library Amazon panel discussion takes place tonight
July 1, 2014 | 11:05 am

Just a friendly little reminder to block out 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern tonight to watch the panel discussion that the New York Public Library is hosting on Amazon’s business tactics, featuring James Patterson, Bob Kohn, and Passive Guy. It will be livestreamed, and promises to be rather entertaining. I’ll try to write up some thoughts about it afterward, or tomorrow....