Best-selling authors have had enough of Amazon's bullying tactics against Hachette Book Group to lower their e-book prices. They're showing their disdain with a petition and full-page ad in The New York Times.
Author Douglas Preston wrote an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos "demanding that Amazon stop using writers as hostages in its negotiations" with Hachette, according to The New York Times. More than 900 authors have signed the letter, including Stephen King, Donna Tartt, Paul Auster and Barbara Kingsolver.
The letter and its signatures ran in the Times' Sunday edition as a full-page ad. It called on Amazon "in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business." A "small group of authors" helped purchase the ad for $104,000, according to the Guardian.
Amazon wants to lower the price of e-books and has delayed delivery or eliminated the choice for pre-order sales for Hachette titles. The book publisher doesn't want the e-commerce giant de-valuing the role of its authors, editors, marketers and distributers for the years ahead.
"We feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want," Preston wrote in the letter.
In response to the Preston's letter, Amazon Books Team launched the site ReadersUnited.com. It asks Amazon customers to contact Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch and demand the company "stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks."
Amazon argues lower e-book prices benefit the customer and the author. "The customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger."
Hachette is one of the "Big Five" publishers operating in the United States that also includes Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. None of them chose to participate in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon's new unlimited e-book subscription service, according to NPR.com. The program offers unlimited e-books for a fixed monthly fee.