Amazon tells authors 100% royalty offer was 'sincere'

Amazon tells authors 100% royalty offer was 'sincere'

Amazon has hit back at the American Author's Guild for calling its offer to temporarily give authors 100% e-books royalties "highly disingenuous".

It said it found it "hard to believe" the Guild did not support the "sincere" offer.

The online retailer made the offer last week as part of its ongoing terms battle with Hachette in US, saying a letter to authors and agents that it was prepared to give writers caught up in the dispute 100% royalties on e-books while the impasse lasts, if Hachette agreed to it.

Hachette immediately rejected the offer, calling on Amazon to "withdraw the sanctions they have unilaterally imposed".

The Author's Guild in the US also spoke out against the offer, with novelist and guild vice president Richard Russo writing: "we’re not interested in a short-term windfall to some of the writers we represent. What we care about is a healthy ecosystem where all writers, both traditionally and independently published, can thrive… We believe that such an ecosystem cannot exist while entities within it are committed to the eradication of other entities."

Amazon responded in a statement seen by Publishers Weekly, reaffirming that its offer was "sincere", and saying "it is hard to believe" that the Guild did not support it. The statement said: "Our offer is sincere and it stands—Hachette need only say yes to help their authors. We also wonder what this letter would look like if Hachette had posed this idea and Amazon had rejected it. The letter conflates the long-term structure of the industry with a short-term proposal designed to take authors, the constituency this organization supposedly represents, out of the line of fire of a negotiation between large corporations. Given that the Authors Guild are an author's advocacy group, it is hard to believe they don't support this. They are the Authors Guild, not the Publishers Guild."