Amazon has reportedly offered Authors United, a group of writers protesting against the online retailer because of its dispute with Hachette Book Group, a new deal which would include restocking all HBG titles and donating the proceeds from sales to a literacy charity.
Douglas Preston, the author behind a letter calling on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette, which has been signed by almost 1,000 authors, told Publishers Weekly he had been called by Amazon’s v.p. of Kindle Content, Russ Grandinetti, to discuss the new proposal.
Previously Amazon had offered to pay authors 100% of the revenue from sales of their e-books.
The new offer made by Grandinetti would involve Amazon going back to stocking all HBG titles and paying authors standard e-book royalty rates, said Preston. Grandinetti also proposed that while Amazon and Hachette were still negotiating, all proceeds the companies normally earn from e-book sales would be donated to an agreed-upon literacy charity.
Preston told Publishers Weekly the new offer would have “the same effect of crippling Hachette” as the first offer. “If [Hachette] wasn’t making money for Lagardère, they'd shut it down," he said.
Grandinetti reportedly said the offer would encourage both companies to negotiate, and accused Hachette of stalling, telling Preston: “We tried to talk to them for months.”
A spokesperson for Amazon told Publishers Weekly: "You have to look at the parent company--Lagardère Group--rather than just the Hachette division. Kindle books are only 1% of Lagardère Group's sales. They can afford it, and should stop using their authors as human shields."
Grandinetti also reportedly told Preston that every time Authors United “make a statement, it makes Hachette less willing to compromise”.
Preston is still moving forward with plans to publish the Authors United letter in the New York Times as part of a full-page ad paid for by authors including Lee Child, Stephen King, John Grisham, David Baldacci and James Patterson.
Preston said Amazon would not be able to divide Hachette and its authors.
“First of all, I’ve been with Hachette for 25 years,” he said. “I have a six-book contract with Hachette. The thing about Amazon, they think it’s all about money.
“It’s not [all] about money.]"