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Indie authors launch pro-Amazon petition
04.07.14 | Philip Jones
A second petition about the Amazon Hachette dispute has been launched - this time a pro-Amazon letter written by a group of self-published writers. The petition signed by "your writers" and directed at "dear readers" argues that Amazon "has built its reputation on valuing authors and readers dearly".
It was launched only hours after a letter, written by author Douglas Preston and signed by a number of authors calling on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette and asking readers to email Amazon founder Jeff Bezos direct with their protests, went public. The indie author Joe Konrath wrote that he, Hugh Howey along with Barry Eisler and others, had been "fiddling with this [second] letter for the last 24 hours".
The second letter was signed by 27 authors before publication, including prominent hybrid writer Hugh Howey, and has now garnered more than 500 signatures from readers.
Meanwhile Preston told the Wall Street Journal he had received messages of support from a few hundred authors, and the latest version has about 70 signatories, including authors such as Antony Beevor, James Patterson, Gillian Sovo, Iain Pears, and Sarah Dunant.
The second petition urged readers to avoid any calls for a boycott of Amazon and warned against "millionaire author propaganda". The writers said Amazon had "done more to liberate readers and writers than any other entity since Johannes Gutenberg refined the movable type printing press", adding that they "rightfully believe Amazon has treated us better than any publisher ever has".
An excerpt read:
"Hachette is looking out for their own interests, not the interests of writers or readers. This approach is consistent with a long history of treating bookstores as customers, writers as chattel, and readers as non-entities. But we believe the Hachette approach is backwards. We know the only players who truly matter are the storytellers and their audience. That’s us. That’s you. We’re in this together.
"While most of the major publishers are owned by large media giants, we are small business owners who work from our homes. While Hachette has TV personalities and millionaires taking out ads in major newspapers, we have only a chorus of voices and an appeal for sanity and clear thinking."
"You may be urged to boycott Amazon. But a call to boycott Amazon is unavoidably a call to boycott authors who can’t get their books into other stores. Boycotting Amazon is unavoidably a call for higher e-book prices. Boycotting Amazon is preventing us from reaching you. It is an end to our independence."
"The best way to support Hachette’s authors is by showing Hachette where you prefer to get your books. Let Hachette know that you agree with Amazon that e-books should not cost more than paperbacks. Help us urge Hachette to stop hurting its own writers. Help us urge them to agree to reasonable terms with Amazon."
Despite its defence of Amazon, and attack on Hachette, the indie writers stressed that "Amazon didn’t ask us to write this letter, or sign it." Earlier this week Amazon flew indie writer and blogger David Vandergriff (aka Passive Guy) to a debate held about Amazon at the New York Public Library.