Stephen King, John Grisham and Authors United plead with Amazon board to end Hachette eBook feud

Amazon’s bitter feud with Hachette has taken on a new direction after the Authors United campaign group appealed to the online retailer’s board to put a stop to the conflict that has left household name authors frozen out of the online bookshop.

Related: Amazon hits back over Hachette’s “Authors United” letter in eBook dispute

A letter from Authors United, a group of Hachette writers and various allies, called on the Amazon board to put a stop to the book sale stoppage in order to avoid damage to the reputations of themselves and the company as a whole.

“We'd like to emphasize that most of us are not Hachette authors, and our concern is founded on principle, rather than self-interest,” read the letter that was posted to the group’s website. “We find it hard to believe that all members of the Amazon board approve of these actions. We would like to ask you a question: Do you as an Amazon director approve of this policy of sanctioning books?”

The sanctions have apparently included refusing pre-orders, delaying shipping, reducing discount opportunities, using pop-ups to cover Hachette books and redirecting buyers to books not under the Hachette banner.

As a result Hachette author sales on the Amazon.com site are down by at least 50 per cent and in some cases have dropped by a huge 90 per cent with 1,100 authors currently members of Authors United including Stephen King, John Grisham and Robert A. Caro.

“Amazon has every right to refuse to sell consumer goods in response to a pricing disagreement with a wholesaler. We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes. But books are not consumer goods. Books cannot be written more cheaply, nor can authors be outsourced to China. Books are not toasters or televisions. Each book is the unique, quirky creation of a lonely, intense, and often expensive struggle on the part of a single individual, a person whose living depends on his or her book finding readers. This is the process Amazon is obstructing,” the letter continued.

Amazon has thus far been steadfast in its position on the argument that stems from claims by the online retailer that Hachette wants to sell its eBooks at inflated prices despite the lack of production costs present when it comes to eBooks, in particular.

Related: eBooks will hit £1b by 2018 and eclipse printed books

A solution still doesn’t seem at all close and given that no pressure has so far worked, it appears unlikely that Amazon’s top brass will take any notice of the latest letter.Porthole Ad