Authors United

August 8, 2014

Douglas Preston, author of techno-thriller and horror novels, wrote a letter protesting the “thuggery” of Amazon against Hachette authors, and urging his fans to let Jeff Bezos know they were upset, too. The campaign has now attracted the support of many other authors, over 900 names big and small. The letter will be running as a full-page ad, along with those names, this Sunday in the New York Times.

It’s hard to figure out just who is winning these days. Poor Amazon, thinking it had the upper hand, has certainly launched and maintains the successful careers of many authors. But the company has backed down previously when the public got riled, and getting the creators of content angry surely is not a good strategy for the long term. Neither is calling any bestselling author “entitled” and an “opportunist.” Generally speaking, I think readers are inclined to side not with publishers, not with distributors, and maybe not even with libraries. They side with the authors they love.