Doug Preston is an author who has mobilized many hundreds of other authors to sign a petition to stop Amazon’s monopolistic practices. Here is the letter that Preston wrote to the Amazon board of directors, along with the names of the authors who signed the letter. As you may have read, Amazon is in a dispute with publisher Hachette. To break Hachette’s will, Amazon has been raising the prices of its books and delaying shipment. But when the author of a Hachette book was Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, none of those punitive tactics were applied. Most of those who signed his petition are not Hachette authors; they are authors who hate to see Amazon harassing a publisher, even as it drives physical bookstores out of existence. The owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is also owner of the Washington Post.
Doug Preston’s latest letter:
I wanted to bring your attention to an important piece written by Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, which will be the cover story in the magazine this week. This article puts the Hachette/Amazon dispute in the broadest historical and humanistic context.
Our own letter to the Department of Justice is still in preparation. This is a critical initiative involving a number of people and a lot of research. We are partnering with the Authors Guild in this effort. Working together, we hope to present a viable argument, citing law, of why the Justice Department should at least look into Amazon’s market practices. We have already had several conversations with attorneys at the Antitrust Division of the DoJ, and we’ve been assured that they welcome any information we can provide. The letter we give them is a serious step and we have to make sure it is right.
When the letter is done, I will post it on our website and send you a link so you can review it. If you wish to withdraw your name, you can email me at any time, now or when the letter is posted.
Something many of us feared Amazon might be doing has now been documented–see this piece in the Times:
If you’re a powerful Congressman, it seems, Amazon will cut you a break. At least one Hachette author–Paul Ryan–doesn’t have to worry about delayed shipping, manipulated “search” results that hide his book, and short discounts.
All the best,