4:35pm

Fri August 8, 2014
Book News & Features

Over 900 Authors Lend Their Names To A Letter Backing Hachette

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 6:57 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. More than 900 writers have signed on to a letter condemning Amazon in its dispute with the publishing company Hachette over the price of e-books. The letter says Amazon is putting authors in the middle of its fight. A version has been circulating all summer. And this Sunday, the letter will appear as a full-page ad in the New York Times. NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: The authors have addressed the letter to quote "our readers," calling on them to contact Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and tell him what they think of his company's stand in its dispute with Hachette. But the writers say they're not taking sides in the dispute, which began when Amazon and Hachette were negotiating over the terms of a new contract. Talks broke down over the price of e-books and Amazon started to make it difficult for its customers to get books from Hachette. In doing that, the letter says, the online retailer quote "singled out a group of authors for retaliation" - authors who were in no way involved in the dispute. Well-known writers such as John Grisham, Donna Tartt, Barbara Kingsolver and Stephen King added their names to the letter, which was written by Douglas Preston. After Preston began circulating the letter in early July, the writers formed an organization called Authors United and they are paying for the New York Times advertisement, which costs more than $100,000. Amazon has floated some proposals in an effort to woo Hachette authors to its side, but so far the writers have stuck by their publisher. There are some writers who are on Amazon's side. A petition penned by self-published and best-selling author Hugh Howey has attracted some 7,000 signatures. Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.